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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2051 ..



The ACT Government is to also focus energies on the diversion of high risk offenders.

It is the hard core drug users who cause most harm to themselves and the community through crime and self-harm and therefore on whom resources are best expended.

Individual States and Territories know what works best for them.

They need to be in a position to ensure that any diversion program takes account of existing legislation, policy and practice.

Decisions about the precise nature of the target group and the most appropriate points of exit from the criminal justice system need to take into account local circumstances.

I want to ensure that the approach taken in the first phase of the National Illicit Drug Strategy, whereby funding went direct to non-government organisations without adequate consultation with State and Territory policy-makers, is not repeated.

The ACT Government wants to ensure that if it proceeds with implementing a particular model of diversion, it complements existing diversion and treatment programs.

Aggressive targeting, that is, seeking out those who do not come to police attention via current policies and procedures, would represent a major policy shift in both policing practices and in our overall health response to illicit drug users.

As some members will know, we already have some successful diversion programs in place in the Territory:

A Treatment Referral Program,

which provides courts with reports on suitability of treatment as a sentencing option and progress of clients on treatment orders;

Diversionary conferencing; and

Griffiths bonds,

which are a form of long term remand during which time an offender undertakes a treatment program.

Furthermore, proposals are being developed which will complement and enhance existing measures which include:

on the spot in-court assessments

of offenders by drug and alcohol professionals as a more effective and efficient method of advising magistrates on the appropriateness of treatment options; and

providing, the ACT is successful in working with the Commonwealth and is able to attract funding under the National Illicit Drug Strategy, the provision of residential or day program rehabilitation for

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