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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1367 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

the realities of drug use. And, of course, government has a very important role to play-as a leader and also a listener.

I hope this motion will allow information gained from all jurisdictions, and from international experience, to be effectively brought together to effect a caring and compassionate policy renewal for the ACT. I look forward to seeing the benefits of this engaging and cooperative approach reinforced by overseas experience. This motion addresses with maturity the reality that government alone cannot solve the drug problem.

MR SMYTH (8.06): Mr Speaker, the Liberal Party will be supporting this motion. I particularly thank Ms Tucker for recognising the success of the poverty task group set up by the previous government and the approach that it took. That approach was to get everybody into the tent, have them realise, with maturity of debate, what was wrong in our community and have them come up with positive ways of addressing those problems. The various volumes of by the poverty task group do that. They set out a model that could be used here to look at how to reduce the harm that drugs do to our society.

On both days of the mental health forum there was a call for the many different sectors to "break down the silos"-an expression often used-and start working together. For instance, somebody caught with a dual diagnosis problem who is being treated partly by drug and alcohol services and partly by mental health services needs a holistic approach if they are to be better off, play a part in society, be themselves, get rid of their drug afflictions and minimise the impact of their mental illness.

The health community says that we have to do it together, and what Ms Tucker is trying to say in her motion is that we have to do it together, otherwise it will not work as effectively as it could, and in that I agree with her. The answer to the question we have was answered in the way the poverty task group put together its reports. The positive of the poverty task group was that it looked at it as a broad problem; it looked at a city, a community. It took a variety of approaches to the various issues and brought down a number of reports, with a final report to tie it all together. That is the sort of approach I would like to see taken here.

I listened to Ms Tucker and then spoke to her about the motion, particularly the words "and other substances". It is the other substances we often forget; they get overshadowed by the dramatic nature of illicit drugs and their effects. But it is often the other substances, as Ms Gallagher has just pointed out-things you can easily acquire in a shop or perhaps at home in the kitchen that you can sniff or use in a variety of ways-that we need to look at. More importantly, there are alcohol and tobacco issues. Alcohol and tobacco cause more deaths, put a greater impost on our health system and destroy the lives of many more Australians than they have to.

I look forward to that broad approach, but such an approach must have a broad membership. It is a big tent we are erecting here and I hope that, when the government sets up the task force, they will invite people of all views who will say, in a sign of maturity, that as a city state we can solve this problem together.

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