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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 27 October 2010) . . Page.. 5148 ..


MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, what are the issues that would need to be taken into account when you are considering the review findings?

MS GALLAGHER: We do understand that this is an issue where there are mixed views around the next steps, particularly around a needle and syringe program in the jail.

Mr Hanson: What do the corrections officers think, Katy? The people that run the jail—what do they think?

MS GALLAGHER: As I just said, there are mixed views around the possible implementation of a needle and syringe exchange program in the jail. In accordance with the national drug strategy, which is underpinned by harm minimisation, we will focus on supply reduction strategies which are designed to disrupt the production and supply of illicit drugs and to control and regulate licit substances; demand reduction strategies which are designed to prevent the uptake of harmful drug use and to provide treatment to reduce drug use; and harm reduction strategies which are designed to reduce drug-related harm to individuals and the community.

We will be looking at all of these issues as we work forward on the potential for a needle exchange program trial at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. There are mixed views, particularly between the union representing staff at the Alexander Maconochie Centre—we will need to spend time talking with those organisations—and the health sector, where there are very strongly held views about this issue. The government’s job is to make sure that all of those issues are put on the table, all of those issues are heard and all of those issues are responded to in a way that allows for very solid consultation processes. But at the end of the day the government will have to take a decision around whether or not we proceed with a trial of the needle and syringe exchange program at the AMC after all those discussions are completed.

MR HANSON: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, are you aware of the levels of drug use at the AMC, and would a formal regime of mandatory random drug testing assist in gathering this data?

MR CORBELL: It is interesting, of course, that Mr Hanson raises the issue of mandatory drug testing, and I note that he has introduced legislation today that will mandate, on average, five per cent of the prison population being randomly tested every month. Of course, the embarrassing fact for Mr Hanson is that the government, on average, over the past 12 months for each month has achieved random and targeted testing of 25 per cent of the prison population.

Mr Hanson: What’s the random figure, Simon? Does that include the entry drug tests?

MR SPEAKER: Order!


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