AMA submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee's Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017
The Explanatory Memorandum to this Bill posits that it is contrary to community expectations that people who ‘abuse’ substances receive welfare payments. This overlooks the health implications, and approaches substance dependence from a moral standpoint. The AMA considers substance dependence to be a serious health problem, one that is associated with high rates of disability and mortality. The AMA firmly believes that those affected should be treated in the same way as other patients with serious health conditions, including access to treatment and supports to recovery. Treatment and support services for people with substance dependence are already under pressure; this Bill will inevitably result in increased demand.