Page 1911 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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new money for vital, life-saving programs. While we will all continue to be responsible for the areas where we can contribute to reform, I want to acknowledge that, in this place, the strongest advocate for reform is Minister Berry. I look forward to continuing to work with her in this important policy space.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Alcohol and other drug use—harm minimisation policy

Ministerial statement

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (10.42): I rise today to present an update on the ACT government’s work on alcohol and other drug policy, and the approach to harm minimisation in our community. As part of this, I will table the government response to the select committee inquiry into the Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill 2021, which I will speak to shortly.

The ACT government has been nation leading in taking a harm minimisation approach to alcohol and other drug policy. Our approach to this policy area has been one of collaboration, engagement and inclusion, with the central guiding principle being that drug use is fundamentally a health issue, and that, in most instances, contact with the criminal justice system for drug possession can do more harm than good.

This approach is not new. I am carrying on the work set out by my predecessor, who launched the ACT government’s first Drug Strategy Action Plan 2018-21 in December 2018. This plan outlined the ACT government’s local actions to meet the aims of the National Drug Strategy 2017-26 and has set the government’s direction in a foundation of clear, deliverable and measurable actions that have guided our investment and identified the population groups most in need.

Today, as part of this update, I will outline some of the successes that government and our partners in the alcohol and other drug treatment sector have had in implementing this plan. In this context, I will table the second and final progress report on the implementation of the Drug Strategy Action Plan 2018-21. I will set out where the government intends to go from here with the development of the next drug strategy action plan, informed by a policy review of the first plan, which I will also table.

The ACT Drug Strategy Action Plan 2018-21 was the first iteration of the ACT’s whole-of-government alcohol and other drug agenda under the harm minimisation framework provided by the National Drug Strategy 2017-26. It provided a strong foundation for the ongoing investment in evidence-based and practice-informed harm minimisation responses to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The action plan was launched in December 2018, as I said, following consultation with key government and non-government stakeholders, and a formal public consultation process in mid-2018.

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