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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1210 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

committee is looking at service purchasing, that someone must have been given the task of working out such a policy. I will not speak out any further now about how services are being purchased in the ACT, although it is certainly relevant to this debate. Taking a long-term perspective and adopting an informed and thorough policy process is basic to good government.

Mr Speaker, we have some hard questions to ask ourselves. I do not think six weeks is long enough to get comment from the community on this draft strategy, particularly as the time also included holidays. The draft strategy speaks of collaboration and partnership, but the practice does not. It would have been much better if the Minister had picked up the example of Melbourne and allowed development of a drug strategy to be supported and informed by a series of community forums. Yes, there was consultation and evaluation of the last strategy, but it is absolutely clear that this needs to be an ongoing process, and development of a strategy requires different questions to be asked.

Mr Moore probably will claim that this approach will cause unnecessary delays, but it was Mr Moore's department which took over a year to evaluate the last drug strategy. It obviously was not a problem then. The Government must ensure processes are transparent and it must take an inclusive and holistic approach to this issue. The divisions are not just going to disappear. It was clear how much division there is from Mrs Carnell's words yesterday on the outcomes of the Special Council of Australian Governments' national approach. There obviously is not an agreed approach across Australia between the heads of States. I commend the various heads of government, including our Chief Minister, for working towards, and being committed to working towards, finding a common approach. I am asking that we do the same as much as possible within our own community.

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.

MR OSBORNE (5.27): Mr Speaker, this draft strategy certainly is very comprehensive but I would also argue that I have found it very confusing. It is confusing because it is not clear whether it is Mr Moore's drug strategy or the Government's. It contains proposals which I have often heard Mr Moore speak about since I have been a member of this place, but I have yet to hear most of these proposals owned by either the Government or the Liberal Party. While I will speak more about that later, Mr Speaker, I wish first to consider the foundation of this strategy, harm minimisation, and Mr Moore's public health model which is diagrammed in Appendix 3 on page 46.

Mr Speaker, at face value, harm minimisation sounds fantastic, with room for separate strategies for supply reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction. I submit, however, that the concept of harm minimisation still has little acceptance by the wider Canberra community, especially its perceived tolerance of illicit drugs. People become both concerned and confused when they hear their politicians speak lightly of illicit drugs and they wonder how we ever came from the place of focusing on prevention of drug use to the point of apparently tolerating their use and putting on a brave face about it. Almost without exception the parents who contact me say the same thing, "We do not want our children growing up thinking it is okay to take drugs", but they feel that the central message of harm minimisation does not give them the support that they need to help their children make good decisions about drugs.

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