The Australian government is planning a two-year trial of random drug tests for welfare recipients starting in January 2018.
If approved by parliament, the trial will enlist 5000 people who apply for government income support because they can’t find work or are studying.
The group will be required to undergo random saliva, urine or hair tests to see if they have consumed illicit drugs, including methamphetamine, MDMA, cannabis or heroin.
If they test positive, 80 per cent of their welfare money will be moved to a BasicsCard, which can only be used to pay for food, rent, childcare and other essential items, and if they test positive more than once, they will be referred to a medical professional for addiction treatment.
On Sunday, the government finalised the three locations where the trial will take place: Canterbury-Bankstown in New South Wales, Logan in Queensland, and Mandurah in Western Australia, areas with relatively high levels of unemployment and drug use.
The aim of the policy is to help job seekers “to receive the help they need to get on a path towards securing a job and building a better future for themselves and their families,” the minister for social services Christian Porter said in a statement last week.