Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 3759..
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.
MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I took a question on notice from Mr Stanhope on 7 September - in fact, I had partially answered the question at the time - about indigenous people and heroin overdose deaths. I would like to provide the Assembly with updated information for the period from January 2000 to the present. I can now advise that there were 15 suspected overdose deaths in the ACT during this period, 13 in which heroin was the suspected cause of death and two from prescription medications. Nine of these have now gone to inquest and six are awaiting a coroner's inquest and report.
According to the findings of the coroner in a report released yesterday, three of the suspected heroin deaths have been attributed to other causes, bringing the number of heroin overdoses in the ACT to seven, with a further six inquests to take place. I must stress, however, that of the six only four are suspected of heroin overdoses. This means, therefore, that there have been seven confirmed heroin overdose deaths, with a further four still the subject of inquiry, bringing to 11 the number of suspected deaths from heroin overdose.
Three of the most recent deaths have been identified as being of indigenous people. However, at this point only two of them have been confirmed as being due to a heroin overdose. The other is still awaiting an inquiry. Should the remaining four deaths be attributed to heroin overdose, it would mean that indigenous deaths represented 27 per cent of the fatal overdoses during this calendar year. We have not quite got to that stage, but there has been enough for serious concern.
As members will be aware, it is not always possible to be certain that a person who has overdosed is indigenous unless that information is volunteered by family or friends, so there is another factor in there as well. But the point that Mr Stanhope was getting to is the seriousness of the issue, which we recognise.
Mr HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs, Attorney - General and Treasurer) (3.09): On this matter of road funding, I listened upstairs on the blower to the debate this morning to hear the arguments that were put forward as I was curious as to the views that members opposite would put. The motion is interesting for two reasons, Mr Speaker. First of all, it reflects on the state of play with the view of Canberra in the rest of the community.
Mr Berry: You must be desperate to waste time.
Mr HUMPHRIES: I agree, Mr Berry, that it was a waste of time listening to your lot speaking in this debate this morning. I did not get much out of it, I have to say. I searched for arguments to come down and address in this debate: what was going to be