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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2975 ..



MS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (3.33): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the ACT Drug Strategy 1999, entitled From Harm to Hope. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

It is with great pleasure that I present From Harm to Hope. As I am sure all members will be aware, drug abuse is a complex issue and one for which there are, unfortunately, no easy answers. At the government level, we have attempted to face the complexity of the problem head on and offer a way forward. The ACT Government has a vision for Canberra as a clever, caring community. With this in mind, the Government is committed to enhancing the health, wellbeing and safety of the community. This includes reducing the harmful consequences associated with the use of all drugs.

We have called the strategy From Harm to Hope because we are working very hard to reduce the level of harm caused by drugs. Equally importantly, we want to give hope, both to the community and to the individuals who use drugs, that there is a better future. The health, economic, social and personal harms caused by alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are a major challenge for the ACT. The harms associated with the misuse of drugs are real and costly, both to the individual and to the community.

This strategy recognises that drugs do not just affect the individual drug user; drug use impacts on the whole community. Mr Speaker, I believe it is vitally important that the Government communicate that very clearly and demonstrate the practical steps we will be taking to tackle these issues. The specific goals of the drug strategy are to create the right kind of environment; reduce the supply of harmful drugs; reduce the demand for alcohol and other drugs; and reduce the harms to the individual and society associated with the use and misuse of alcohol and other drugs.

From Harm to Hope outlines broad directions and provides a basis for coordinated action through drawing together the various initiatives to be undertaken in the areas of health, education, law enforcement, community safety and the environment. Mr Speaker, this strategy is truly a collaborative endeavour. We would not have been able to put together such a comprehensive strategy without the enthusiastic cooperation of interested members of the public, peak bodies, consumers, and non-government and government service providers. They have all played a vital role in developing the strategy and deserve our warmest thanks.

Mr Speaker, I truly believe that this document has taken a step ahead. It has provided a new approach to handling the very complex and vexed issue of drugs, both legal and illegal, in the ACT.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hird ) adjourned.

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