Drug testing jobseekers? The evidence indicates a false positive.

Jobs Australia, peak for the not for profit employment sector, does not support the Governments’ drug testing policy which corrals a reluctant cohort to engage drug treatment which many community members wait months to access.

Ms Nicole Steers, acting CEO of Jobs Australia, says, ‘this policy creates an additional hurdle for jobseekers already facing complexity in finding a job. Those most disadvantaged are already struggling under the burden of extreme poverty exacerbated by extreme personal adverse circumstances.’

Ms Steers continues, ‘State funded drug treatment services are often beleaguered with lengthy waiting times, limited capacity and despite the additional funding, many Australian families will still be waiting for lengthy periods to have their loved ones supported’.

International examples of similar policy have not been promising:

·       NZ: $1M policy resulted in 22 positive samples of 8,001 tested

·       USA: $1M (US) 18-month trial delivered 847 positive results from just under 200,000 tests

Ms Steers continues, ‘this policy allocates scarce taxpayer funding to a program which will at best deliver dubious outcomes and create greater stigma among the unemployed, reinforcing harmful and inaccurate stereotypes.’

‘Greater access to therapeutic support, which may include drug treatment should be prioritised for those most at risk, accompanied with greater access to face to face employment support, training and skills as well as prioritising jobs growth in low employment regions.

 

 

For further information, please contact Dave Taylor, media liaison on 0413 914 206 or dtaylor@ja.com.au

Jobs Australia is the national peak body which helps not-for-profit employment and community services all over Australia to provide the best possible assistance to disadvantaged communities and people.