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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 830 ..

MR MOORE: That is why I repeated it for you, Mr Osborne. The approach I have outlined here is consistent with our overall approach to drugs, both in the ACT and nationally. That approach emphasises the principles of harm minimisation, that we should aim to minimise the harms caused to individuals and societies due to the use of drugs, both licit and illicit.

Often the debate on drugs focuses on the use of illicit substances, such as heroin. That is hardly surprising, given the obvious and immediate impact of heroin addiction on our community, including the harm caused particularly amongst our young people, and the associated criminal and social implications. However, we should not lose sight of the broader issues of drug use, of the damage caused by licit drugs and of the need for a comprehensive approach to all issues of drug abuse. Whether we are dealing with licit drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol, or illicit drugs, such as heroin and marijuana, our aim is the same - to minimise harm through a comprehensive approach to both demand and supply, with a particular emphasis on supporting our young people. In this case, we are restricting the use of a legal drug, whereas in the case of heroin, for example, we are dealing with the reality of the problems of use of an illegal drug. These approaches are, in fact, compatible, they are based on common principles of harm minimisation, and they demonstrate the ACT's balanced approach to the problems caused by drug use in our society. The ACT is committed to looking at a range of flexible, pragmatic options to prevent the use of drugs and to support those people who become dependent upon drugs, with the aim of reducing the harm to them and the general community.

Mr Speaker, I believe the approach being adopted in this legislation will assist us in proudly leading Australia in maximising both community and individual health and wellbeing, in promoting a healthy community and in further developing Canberra as a healthy city. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer): Mr Speaker, pursuant to standing order 77(d), I move:

That Executive business be called on.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Debate resumed from 23 March 1999, on motion by Mr Moore:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

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