As everyone scours the budget looking for winners and losers spare a thought for the 5,000 new welfare recipients and their families. They are clearly going to be the victim of a government measure that is trying to solve a complex social problem with an absurdly simple and harsh response.
On the face of it, drug testing may seem reasonable for people receiving welfare payments, after all it is taxpayer funds they are receiving. However, everyone, and in particular every member of Parliament, should stop and consider many issues before blindly supporting this measure.
For instance, if these new welfare recipients and most of them will be young people, are to lose their benefits what exactly are they supposed to use for food, housing and seeking employment? We assume this burden is expected to fall on their families or charities to ensure they don’t live or starve in the streets. However, no families or support services will receive additional assistance to do this. In the case of families dealing with problematic drug use, this is a horrendous scenario given the daily burdens they already face. How this helps people actually get back into the workforce defies logic.