THE benefits of testing urine, saliva or hair for drugs and alcohol was yesterday debated by Rockhampton regional councillors.

But a council officer said some staff were opposed to testing workers' urine, stating it would breach their privacy.

Instead, they pushed for council to test employees' saliva.

But the councillor behind the push for a drug and alcohol policy, Cr Glenda Mather, said she did not believe it was a good enough excuse.

It is believed that substances are more detectable for longer periods of time in urine than in saliva.

But a council officer also discussed the benefit of testing saliva, the method also used by police.

The officer said that it was easier to tamper with urine than with a swab of saliva.

Cr Neil Fisher suggested testing hair samples.

Some workers backed the drug and alcohol testing, saying it was a great step forward for council.

CEO Evan Pardon said if employees were suspended for testing positive it would be on full pay.

Councillors agreed to implement urine and saliva testing for staff, contractors and councillors.

But a legislative conflict means that council will have to draft another policy to apply to councillors.

Councillors were yesterday determined to ensure they would be treated the same as any other employee.

"We have to formulate a second policy," Cr Mather said.

"We want to make it very clear we do not consider ourselves above the staff, we want to set a standard."



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