Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (22 April) . . Page.. 1214 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
we can tell where we are going. I think there may be some debate about whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, but now we are going to put into place measures to ensure that we can evaluate what we are doing and that there is a proper scrutiny of it.
Mr Kaine raised a number of issues. In particular, he said that this is really a strategy that is about health. I have to say, yes, we do look at a series of other policies, and we refer in this policy to what the police are doing. But what we are interested in, most forcibly, are the health issues, and that is what we are going to do.
In terms of education, Mr Kaine asked what my colleagues are doing. Mr Stefaniak has introduced separately a draft education strategy for drugs. I think that is also available for debate in this Assembly at another time. We purposely kept that separate because how we do drug education is of great interest to the community. We must do it, but we also must be careful how we do it.
Mr Wood raised the issue in his speech and talked about making sure we educate our students, but also educate our teachers. I am aware of at least one report that looked into Life Education and how it was delivering services in Victoria. The result was that where Life Education had been doing what they believed was best in order to raise these issues with young people - this is before they changed the way they did things - there had actually been an increase in the usage of drugs in those schools. It was a very clear finding. We have to be very careful about the way we do these things. When I come back to Mr Osborne, I will point out the danger of the approach that he has advocated.
Mr Wood also said that we have to make sure that we actually genuinely have a strategy, and he came back to the lessons that I had given him on planning. How much, when and where was what I used to reiterate, and I am taking that on board, Mr Wood. We are looking at details and we are looking at goals. We will take that on board. But we also have to be careful that, in respect of these issues, we have a strategy and we have an implementation plan as well. I think we have to be careful not to confuse those two.
Mr Wood also said - and in some ways a similar approach was taken by Ms Tucker - that if we really want to solve the drug problems, then look at jobs, look at the social background, look at the environment and look at making a productive future for young people. I could not agree more strongly. Of course, they are the very issues that this Government is wrestling with. That is why we are so pleased when there is a reduction in unemployment. That is why we are so pleased when we can move on some of those other social issues which are behind it. It is not a simple issue to deal with. It is a very complex issue to deal with, and we are going to continue with it.
Mr Wood also raised, in respect of education, the Prime Minister's approach to just expelling students if they are involved in drugs. If you expel them from one school, where do they wind up? In another school. They will definitely wind up in the public education system. In the Prime Minister's approach, the example he was using was a particular private school. It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that our schools should be able to have a very positive approach to this. In fact, we already have a very good example within the ACT. Lake Tuggeranong College, as part of their healthy schools program, which is founded on the World Health Organisation's healthy cities concept, does deal with these issues in a very positive way. I think we could look at that as a model.