Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 10 May 2018) . . Page.. 1782 ..
right until the last moment, and for working with the consortium to find a way forward.
Finally, I want to acknowledge each of the individuals who was there helping in the pill testing tent at Groovin the Moo in Canberra, and I want to take this opportunity to mention each of them by name. In addition to Dr David Caldicott, Gino Vumbaca, Matt Noffs and retired Superintendent Frank Hansen, whom I mentioned earlier, the tent included STA-SAFE consortium members Stephanie Tzanetis, Penelope Hill and Professor Tony Makkai.
I also want to recognise the work of the volunteers who helped with the pill testing operation: Malcolm, Ginny, Patrick and Shelly. These people all played a crucial role in making Australia’s first pill testing trial a success. I was lucky enough to be at Groovin the Moo and get a tour of the pill testing set-up on the day. It was a fascinating experience, and it was great to see young people in the ACT engaging with the services and talking to health professionals about their drug use.
I have previously seen a pill testing service operating in the Netherlands, and seeing it working on the ground in the ACT only reaffirmed my belief that it does help to reduce harm. We also know that in the absence of an endorsed pill testing service young people will look for other options, such as reagent testing kits, which are less reliable, and miss the opportunity to collect data and engage with health professionals. A formal pill testing scheme with expert scientific, medical and counselling staff on hand is the best and safest option, and we now know it is achievable.
Over the last 18 months I have vigorously debated this issue, and spoken extensively about supporting this and calling for a pill testing trial in the ACT. We have been talking about this since the last Assembly, and I always remained confident that we would be able to get support for a trial here in this progressive jurisdiction, despite some setbacks along the way.
Reflecting on the campaign now, I see that what we wanted to achieve was to ensure festival goers did not take avoidable risks. I believe we did achieve that. I hope the success of the recent trial will help assure festival organisers and governments around the country that there are good evidence-based strategies that can reduce harm for people who are thinking of either taking or experimenting with illicit substances.
I again want to thank everyone who was involved in the trial, from those at the coalface to the individuals who signed the petition or talked about it with their friends. The Greens are proud to have led the debate on this important issue, and we hope that this trial will open the door for more pill testing and other harm minimisation measures, both in the ACT and across the country. I commend my motion to the Assembly.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (12.14): We will not be supporting Mr Rattenbury’s motion. I have outlined in previous speeches why, and I will reiterate those concerns today. The trial and Mr Rattenbury’s motion today have done nothing to change the opposition’s view. Mr Rattenbury has made much of the evidence, but Mr Rattenbury and his fellow travellers are selective in the evidence they present. He cherrypicks the