Drug rehab programs for welfare recipients get funding boost

Some welfare recipients being drug tested will receive additional treatment services to help them in their search for a job.

New details of the treatment to get people off drugs and unemployment benefits and into jobs were announced on Wednesday by Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan.

Last year, the government announced it would trial a program in which 5000 new recipients of the Newstart and Youth allowances would have to undergo mandatory drug testing.

The trial began on January 1 this year in Mandurah in Western Australia, Logan in Queensland and Canterbury-Bankstown in NSW. Welfare recipients face penalties if they refuse.

The government announced from January 1 this year, 5000 new recipients of the Newstart and Youth allowance would be drug tested. Source: 7 News

Additional treatment available through the Turnbull Government’s $10 million treatment fund, which was announced on Wednesday, includes – $1 million for case management services for people who test positive more than once under the trial, $3 million to boost drug treatment capacity in the three trial sites and $6 million for additional accredited treatment support if government-funded services cannot provide treatment quickly.

Mr Tehan said he wanted Australians to be able to take advantage of job opportunities.

“The best thing we can do is help someone off welfare and into work. The drug testing trial is about helping people to help themselves get a job,” he said.

“Doing nothing is no longer an option. Doing nothing is not helping Australians to address a drug problem and get off welfare and into work.”

A survey by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found meth and amphetamine use was 3.1 times higher among unemployed people than employed.

About 23 per cent of unemployed people surveyed were recent users of illicit drugs.