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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 1993) . . Page.. 2487 ..


DRUGS OF DEPENDENCE (AMENDMENT) BILL (NO. 3) 1993

Debate resumed from 13 May 1993, on motion by Mr Berry:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS CARNELL (Leader of the Opposition) (4.33): Mr Deputy Speaker, the purpose of this Bill is to modify certain provisions of the Drugs of Dependence Act relating to the administration and supply of methadone to clients of the methadone program. It has been brought about because of changes to the Drugs of Dependence Act last year which extended the provision of methadone to centres outside the hospitals - to community pharmacies, to doctors' surgeries and also to health centres run by the Territory. At the time of the estimates last year, when Mr Berry was arguing the toss about expanding the methadone program into community health centres, I suggested to him that what he was doing was actually contrary to the Act.

Mr Berry: What did I say?

MRS CARNELL: You said that it was not.

Mr Berry: No, no; I said that I would look into that and if there was something wrong I would fix it, and here we are.

MRS CARNELL: Okay. As Mr Berry found out, the Act probably was being overlooked when it came to his expansion of the methadone program and there certainly is a need to change it. There is no doubt about that. If we are going to have an expanded methadone program, something that I totally support, we need to enable nurses employed by the Territory and in Territory facilities to supply methadone. We also need to change the Act in other areas with regard to witnesses of the provision of methadone and how methadone given out under the methadone program is recorded. All of those things are important for any efficient methadone program to continue.

I have distributed a number of amendments to this Bill. From discussions with Mr Berry earlier today I understand that he is going to clarify a number of issues which may make it appropriate not to go ahead with amendments Nos 1 and 2. No. 2 is not exactly an amendment; it relates to the omission of a clause. I will be going ahead at the moment with my third amendment to the Bill. In essence, as the Opposition totally supports the expansion of the methadone program, we also support this Bill. Hopefully, Mr Berry will clarify what is meant in some areas of the Bill.

MR MOORE (4.36): Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to indicate my support for the Bill. It really is a matter of making the program work a little more easily and, hopefully, with less expense. There has been a significant expansion of the methadone program since the First Assembly met. Then, as I recall, there was something like 80 places on the methadone program and we now have some 350. It is important that transitional stages like this proceed, and I am sure that we will see further modifications and further expansion as time goes on. I am delighted to be able to support these amendments.


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