Canberra Comment column

Federal MP: Member for Forde Bert van Manen. Photo: Supplied
Federal MP: Member for Forde Bert van Manen. Photo: Supplied

Drugs are a scourge on our community and their impacts are far reaching.

Their effects not only destroy families and lead to crime on our streets; they also inhibit individuals from bettering their situations.

The drug testing trial announced last week by the Federal government has been designed to assist in addressing addiction and help job seekers to secure work.

The trial will run for two years, in three different locations in Australia, including Logan City.

It will apply to new recipients of Newstart and Youth Allowance (other) from January 1, 2018, who could be randomly selected to take part.

Those who test positive to a drug test will be placed onto Income Management for 24 months. A second drug test is then scheduled within 25 working days of their initial positive result. Those who test positive a second time will be referred to a medical professional who will come up with a treatment plan. Importantly, all test results will remain private.

Income Management limits the amount of money people can withdraw as cash, with the remaining funds quarantined for the purchase of essentials for themselves and their families.

Data from the similar Cashless Debit Card rollout in Ceduna and the East Kimberley in 2016 has shown in relation to drugs the card has had a positive impact, with 48 per cent of drug takers reporting using illegal drugs less often.

It is a new strategy for Logan. We have to continue to try new strategies if we are going to find a solution to the problem of drugs in our community.

As always, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me with any queries you may have by phoning (07) 3807 6340 or emailing me at bert.vanmanen.mp@aph.gov.au

Bert van Manen MP

Federal Member for Forde