Page 1916 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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expectations around the bill’s application developed with ACT Policing, other experts and those with lived experience, and for the ACT community to build awareness about what the changes mean for them. The government recognises that this is particularly important given the existing challenges faced by people who use drugs.

The changes proposed by the amended bill reflect global trends in decriminalisation of drug use, recognising the evidence that criminalising personal use of drugs does not deter drug use and simply creates further harm for drug users. The amended bill will continue our journey to genuinely treat drug use primarily as a public health matter rather than through the criminal justice system. My hope is that this will help to reduce the stigma experienced by people who use illicit drugs, encouraging more people to come forward and receive support.

In closing, I would again like to thank all of those who are involved in alcohol and other drug and related policy and programs in the ACT for their substantial, ongoing contributions to the ACT’s overarching harm minimisation approach. I would also like to reiterate at this point that the government will continue to work closely with stakeholders as we move forward, and recognise the important work of the entire treatment and support sector. I refer in particular to the advocacy of Mr Chris Gough from the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy, Mr Devin Bowles from the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Association, and the ongoing, thoughtful and progressive policy work and advocacy that Mr Pettersson has demonstrated in this field. This passionate work is done for one purpose; that is, to support people who use drugs, their families and carers to ultimately create a healthier and safer community.

Finally, I expect to have many conversations over the coming weeks, and I will endeavour to circulate the government amendments as soon as possible in order for members to consider these changes and debate the bill as soon as practicable.

I present the following papers:

ACT Drug Strategy Action Plan 2018-2021—

Progress Report 2020-21, dated June 2022.

Review, dated June 2022.

Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill 2021—Select Committee—Report—Inquiry into the Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill 2021—Government response.

ACT Government’s commitment to minimising the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs—Update—Ministerial statement, 9 June 2022.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (10.58): The decriminalisation of drug use is the most important legislative change that we can make to reduce the harm of drugs in our community. If done well, this reform will improve the day-to-day lives of some of the

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