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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3588..

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Arts and Heritage and Acting Minister for Health) (9.04): I thank Ms Dundas for her support for the bill. Mr Smyth and Mrs Cross said that they had severe reservations in relation to the proposed trial. I will not argue with them or dispute what they have had to say.

Lots of issues have to be addressed. The government will have to establish whether this system will work. This system has been operating in New South Wales for some time, but I have not yet been provided with details of its operation. The government will have to address problems relating to access, money, security, neighbourhood protection and the discarding of needles. As I said earlier, a number of issues will have to be addressed. However, it is worth a try. That is the argument that was put forward in a committee report and that is the argument that this government accepted.

Ms Dundas referred earlier to there being 2,500 people in the ACT with hepatitis C. I have not seen statistics for the ACT, but I have been told that the incidence of HIV/AIDS is increasing. We need to implement measures that are likely to be successful in reducing that incidence. As HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C are still incurable, we must take steps to try to diminish the spread of those diseases.

The government weighed up all the issues and decided to go ahead with this 12-month trial. If it patently does not work, the trial will not run for a year. The government will closely monitor and supervise that trial and, in due course, it will report back to this Assembly. If members obtain any other information in the next few months, I have no doubt that it will be well and truly aired in this place. The trial will go ahead. We should give it a chance and see how it goes.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.


Motion (by Mr Wood) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Australia-United States free trade agreement

MR BERRY (9.07): This evening I wish to refer briefly to the preferential trade agreement between Australia and the United States of America, commonly referred to as the Australia-United States free trade agreement. Last Saturday I, along with an overwhelming majority of delegates at the ACT Australian Labor Party conference, voted to support a motion that confirmed ACT Labor's opposition to that trade

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