No drug test, no dole
George Christensen MP -
Welfare payments for the unemployed should be conditional on passing a drugs test, according to Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen.
Mr Christensen told Federal Parliament last night that miners in Mackay could not understand why job seekers were not required to undergo drug tests when holding a job in the mining industry was dependent on passing the same tests.
“I agree with them,” he said. “If it’s good enough for a hard-working miner, who pays taxes, to undergo a mandatory drug and test, then it’s good enough for the person who receives those taxes in welfare.
“To argue against drug testing for Newstart recipients is to foster illegal activities, while undermining the economy and the self-respect of future generations.
“If you cannot pass a drugs test to receive the dole, you are automatically ruling yourself out of employment opportunities and Newstart is about helping the unemployed into the workforce.”
Mr Christensen said while the measure was not party policy, it was another means of matching labour supply to demand in regional centres.
The Nationals are promoting a policy of incentives for moving to regional centres for work and disincentives for doing nothing.
The policy would include tying skilled migrants to regional areas, tax incentives for businesses, cash incentives and assistance for relocation, and denial of unemployment benefits to anyone who refuses to work in regional centres.
“When some employees cannot find workers in some areas and we have unemployed people in others, we must work to bring the two together,” Mr Christensen said.
“Labor’s narrow-minded effort of providing a cash incentive won’t work and didn’t work. Just 37 people have taken up the offer of cash incentives up to $9000 to move for employment.
“And a Jobs Board is a waste of time. Adding another page to the Jobseeker website is not going to solve our labour problems, although it will provide a place for the Prime Minister and her Labor colleagues to post their resumes after the next election.”
Mr Christensen said a carrot and stick approach was needed to fill resource industry vacancies with Australian workers.
“We have to make working in regional centres attractive and make sitting at home on the couch less attractive,” he said.
“If the job opportunities are there and training is available, then young mobile welfare recipients who refuse to take up gainful employment in the regions should not expect to continue to receive those benefits.”