The federal government has announced plans to trial testing welfare recipients for drugs and will limit the cash they receive from Centrelink if they fail. As part of the trial, announced in the 2017 federal budget on Tuesday, 5000 people on Newstart or Youth Allowance in three locations will be required to take random drug tests in order to continue receiving their payments from January 1, 2018. The trial will run for two years.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott briefly toyed with the idea of drug testing but abandoned it. In response to questions on why the government was now interested in chasing welfare recipients on drugs, Treasurer Scott Morrison said in his budget lockup press conference that Australians were prepared to support people, but welfare was a two-way street, and the government was prepared to try the drug testing to bring responsibility into accepting welfare payments: