The Turnbull Government is determined to introduce a drug testing trial in Mandurah to help residents get the help they need to get off drugs and into work.
Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan and Member for Canning Andrew Hastie today announced details of the additional treatment available through the Turnbull Government’s $10 million treatment fund.
Under the trial, 5,000 new recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (other) will be tested over a two-year trial period across three locations: Mandurah (WA), Logan (Queensland) and Canterbury-Bankstown (NSW).
The additional $10 million in funding will provide:
- $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, in the event State or
Commonwealth-funded services cannot be accessed in a timely manner.
Mr Tehan said the Government had recently re-introduced its drug testing trial legislation into the Parliament and called on Labor and the crossbench to support it.
“The Turnbull Government created more than 1,000 jobs a day last year and we want every Australian to be in a position to take advantage of the employment opportunities available,” Mr Tehan said.
“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.
“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.”
Mr Hastie said the trial had great potential for Mandurah.
“This trial is a unique opportunity for Mandurah. Newstart and Youth Allowance are designed to help people while they look for work. But if people are struggling with drug abuse, their chances of getting hired and holding a job are much lower,” Mr Hastie said.
“The drug testing will identify those people who need help, and the treatment fund will make sure those people have the resources they need to get drug free and job ready.
“No one will lose their welfare out of this program, no one will be worse off if they do the right thing. But if you refuse to take a drug test, you’ll find yourself in trouble. That’s no different to many jobs. Many Canning workers take regular drug tests for their jobs. Why should it be any different for welfare recipients? This is a very reasonable expectation, especially as many Australians support job seekers on welfare through their taxes.
“Labor’s opposition to this program is purely political.”
The Turnbull Government has engaged more than 170 stakeholders on the drug testing trial at more than 60 forums around Australia, including the three trial sites.
The Government will further engage and consult with local stakeholders in the three trial locations prior to implementation.
The number of income support recipients in Western Australia who tried to claim drug or alcohol use as an excuse for not meeting their mutual obligations increased by 475 per cent over five years, with 1,075 applications submitted in 2017.
Today Mr Andrew Hastie MP hosted the Minister for Law Enforcement, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, and CEO of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Mr Michael Phelan APM, for the release of the fourth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program.
The report is developed from data gathered at 45 wastewater sites across Australia and reveals that Methylamphetamine consumption in regional WA is the highest in Australia.
For the first time the Program provided the national estimated weight of four illicit drugs sampled, revealing more than 8.3 tonnes of methylamphetamine, 3 tonnes of cocaine, 1.2 tonnes of MDMA and more than 700 kilograms of heroin were consumed between August 2016 and August 2017.
Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor said the report provides law enforcement agencies with a more accurate understanding of the demand for illicit drugs across the states and territories.
“Proportionally, methylamphetamine consumption is generally higher in regional areas than in capital cities, and accurately identifying the worst affected areas ensures we can more effectively target our law enforcement and prevention strategies and measure their impact,” Mr Taylor said.
“We know drug traffickers are increasingly global while maintaining local distribution networks, so we need to be more sophisticated than ever before in our fight against this devastating scourge.
“The increased coordination of our law enforcement agencies, enhanced by the establishment of the Home Affairs portfolio, and our stronger partnerships with international agencies has resulted in record seizures in the past year, disrupting the supply of these harmful drugs to our local communities, families, and children.
Mr Hastie said the report’s results illustrate the dire situation facing the Peel region, and highlight the need for the government’s landmark plan to fight drug addiction in Mandurah.
“The report reveals what locals in the Peel Region already know: regional WA has a serious drug problem,” Mr Hastie said.
“Since my first day in politics the people of Mandurah have told me they want action on drug abuse. Before parliament right now is a program that could make a big difference for our community.”
The Government’s drug testing trial is a welfare and rehabilitation program that identifies job-seekers struggling with drug dependency and directs them to services that will help overcome addiction.
“I’m fighting for the program to pass through parliament. It’s only a trial at this stage, but considering what today’s Wastewater Report reveals, we would be foolish not to do everything we can to fight drug addiction in the Peel Region,” Mr Hastie said.
“The trial has merit and broad local support. The only hurdle left is a group of Labor and crossbench Senators who need to get out of the way so we can continue the fight against drugs.”
Since July 2016 the federal government has committed $300 million through the National Ice Action Strategy to help fight drug addiction throughout Australia. This funding will strengthen education, prevention, treatment, support and community engagement and includes:
- $241.5 million to be invested through 31 Primary Health Networks, which will use their local knowledge to boost the alcohol and other drug treatment sector and reduce demand for ice.
- $13 million to introduce new Medical Benefits Schedule items for Addiction Medicine Specialists to increase the availability of treatment.
- $24.9 million to help families and communities by providing the resources, information and support they need to respond to ice.
- $18.8 million to establish better research, evidence and guidelines on ice, including a new Centre for Clinical Excellence for Emerging Drugs of Concern.
Applications are now open for the third round of the Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) program. The program helps to bring the community together to develop local plans and activities to prevent and reduce the harm being caused by drugs and alcohol in their regions.
The PYMS Health Hub, which is due to be completed this year, is going to play a big role in tackling the terrible effects of drugs on our young people. We need to work together to find more ways to fight ice and other drugs doing harm in our communities.
Any organisation with an interest in tackling drug and alcohol issues in their community is encouraged to apply to the LDAT program.
In Round Two of the LDAT program a grant was awarded to the City of Mandurah and its Community Partner’s ‘Our Mandurah Community - Youth Alcohol Strategy’. They’re running a program designed to educate young people and their parents about the dangers of alcohol abuse. Thanks to the LDAT funding, the program has been able to expand.
This is just one example of how the LDAT program could assist your local community.
LDAT members could include representatives from local councils, schools, police, youth services, primary health services and treatment services, community groups, non-government organisations.
Successful applicants will initially receive $10,000 to help them to develop a local action plan. Once the plan is finalised, LDATs can apply to receive up to an additional $30,000 in their first year (and then $40,000 a year) to support delivery of local activities.
Examples of activities that an LDAT might deliver in communities include:
- Raising awareness of the dangers of methamphetamine (also known as ‘ice’) and encouraging users to seek help;
- Working with vulnerable people to improve their current situation through education or employment services;
- Providing support and information to parents and carers to enable them to talk about alcohol and other drug issues with their children; and
- Developing local solutions for reducing violence and other harm related to alcohol and other drugs in public places.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has said that the Local Drug Action Teams is a key measure within the Turnbull Government’s $298 million National Ice Action Strategy to combat illicit drug and alcohol use.
“The National Ice Taskforce recognised that taking action at the local level and building community engagement and capacity is vital to reducing the harms that alcohol and other drugs have on individuals, families and communities.” Minister Hunt said.
Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie has welcomed the latest round of LDATs, acknowledging that regional communities are often the hardest hit when it comes to epidemics such as ‘ice’ addiction.
“Communities are working hard to establish and implement preventive and support services and this latest round of LDATs will assist communities further.” Minister McKenzie said.
“The Government is encouraging regional health care providers to apply to become an LDAT. Expertise in drug and alcohol issues is not a prerequisite to form a LDAT.”
The Turnbull Government is committed to combating the scourge of ice and we encourage more organisations to apply to join the LDAT program, to drive change at a local level.
Applications for round three of the LDAT program close 19 February 2018. There will be further opportunities to be part of the program later this year and in 2019.
For more information visit www.adf.org.au/ldat
The long anticipated PYMS Health Hub will take a major step toward becoming reality today, as the turning of sod signals the beginning of construction.
The $9.19 million Health Hub will bring together health and service providers instrumental to tackling the effects of drugs, alcohol and mental health issues faced by young people in the Peel region.
Construction of the PYMS Health Hub is particularly significant to Member for Canning Andrew Hastie, who has worked with GP Down South and other local service providers to make it a reality since the by-election in September 2015.Read more
I attended the City of Mandurah's Special Council Meeting on Tuesday night which was held to discuss the federal government’s Drug Testing Trial.
I listened with interest to the concerns some Councillors raised. It’s disappointing some within the City of Mandurah are responding so negatively to this announcement. The struggle with drug abuse in Mandurah is well known, and we can’t afford to stick our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not an issue.
The considered comments made by Mayor Marina Vergone, Deputy Mayor Darren Lee and Councillors David Schumacher, Peter Jackson and Ron Wortley exhibited the civil discussion that should be had on this issue. In particular I welcome the comments made by Councillor Schumacher, who supported the idea of drug testing but wants to make sure there are sufficient services for mental health treatment.
The Drug Testing Trial has the potential to not only identify welfare recipients who are struggling with drug abuse, but also provide them with the treatment they need to get clean and get a job. It stops taxpayers’ money going to drug dealers, but more importantly, the program allocates an additional $10 million to support government services that will be treating people who test positive for illicit drug use.
The second round of applications are now open for local organisations to join the Turnbull Government’s Local Drug Action Team program.
Community groups across Australia are joining forces to deliver targeted local action to help tackle drug use and addiction.
“We need to work together to fight meth and other drugs doing so much harm to individuals, families and our community,” said Mr Hastie.
The program is an initiative under the Turnbull Government’s four year, $298 million investment to reduce the harms of drugs and alcohol.