Seven cups of rhetoric and zero teaspoons of an actual plan. That’s the recipe for the government’s approach to drug testing welfare recipients. The policy, shepherded by Social Services Minister Christian Porter, used to be all about testing wastewater, but government types have gone quiet on the strategy now that it's time to announce the first trial sites.

It has also been revealed that the Department of Social Services is no longer using the CSIRO's data unit Data61 for profiling areas to be used as potential sites in the program. The first trial locations will be Canterbury-Bankstown in Sydney's west and Logan in Queensland, calling into question just how innovative the government is being in targeting areas for the trial.