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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 453 ..

I have also heard from members of the community who want to see some of the proposed substances decriminalised and others who do not. I have also heard from others that they want further drugs to be considered for decriminalisation. Ultimately, I think that this is a good debate, and one I hoped to start by proposing this bill. I think that this will be well guided by a committee inquiry and government working with stakeholders. I know that I have barely scratched the surface of substances that cause harm in our community, but these are some of the most common. I would particularly like to draw to the attention of those considering this bill, in the committee and government, what I would consider the major omission from the list as it stands—that being prescription medications and pharmaceuticals. Opiates are the biggest killer, and they need to be a part of this conversation.

It is my firm belief that decriminalising drugs is the best way to move forward, and we would be best served by discussing what else needs to be included instead of trying to demonise specific drugs. We need to have a holistic response that does not discriminate against a person for the drug they consume—a plan that would allow everyone, regardless of the substance, to seek professional help and treatment, should they want it, is what I aspire to. Whilst I am proposing these changes, I also know that funding for more drug and alcohol services must be enacted alongside this legislation, not in lieu of it. For a comprehensive response to be successful, a well-resourced health and education system is absolutely vital.

I believe that the decriminalisation of a small quantity of drugs better allows us to treat drug use as a public health problem. This is a commonsense step forward that will continue the ACT government’s track record of helping those in our community who need help. I encourage all members in this place to engage with this bill. I think that Canberra is well served when all members of this place play a part in shaping our legislation through the committee process and through amendment.

Debate (on motion by Ms Stephen-Smith) adjourned to the next sitting.

Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill 2021—Select Committee


MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.19), by leave, I move:


(1) a Select Committee on the Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill 2021 be appointed to examine the Bill and any other related matters

(2) the Committee be composed of:

(a) one Member to be nominated by the Government;

(b) one Member to be nominated by the Opposition; and

(c) one Member to be nominated by The Greens;

to be notified in writing to the Speaker by 3 pm today;

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