I understand that this is a controversial issue, which many people feel strongly about.
Very little information is available from the Government about the trial.
Labor recognises the importance of addressing illicit drugs in our community and supports community-driven initiatives to tackle substance abuse.
We understand that there is a need to provide people who are struggling with addiction with access to help and treatment options.
A growing number of experts and not-for-profit organisations, including Harm Reduction Australia, Rural Doctors Association of Australia, the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association and the Australian Council of Social Services have also expressed concern about the proposed trial.
Labor has written to the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter MP calling on the Turnbull Government to answer a number of unanswered questions, including:
- What will happen to drug dependent people if they are removed from the social security system? Does the Government know if the trial will result in an increase in homelessness and potentially crime?
- What evidence does the Government have to show that drug testing people on social security will lead to better health outcomes?
- Similar trials in conducted in the United States show little evidence of achieving better outcomes for drug dependent people. Where has this approach worked?
- How will the Government ensure that people involved in the trial have access to support and rehabilitation services?
- Has the Government allocated additional funding for rehabilitation?
- What consultations has the Government undertaken with medical professionals about this proposed trial?
- How much will the trial cost taxpayers?
There are many questions that the Government needs to answer and Labor will keep pursuing the Government to get answers.