Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1370 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
I would like the membership of this task force, when it is set up, to be as broad as possible. It needs to encompass the whole spectrum of views on drug issues and the whole spectrum of views on how this city should behave. We can all make things change.
Ms Tucker raised a point about parents who abuse substances and the effect that has on their children. I have been meeting with a number of community groups, and that issue has come up in some of the after-school care programs and other programs. They say it has a substantial impact on their young ones, who are going to have problems in the future. Taking the chance to break that cycle with the early intervention that we spoke about in the context of our budget would be a very valuable outcome that I will be looking for in this area.
Another area is the reason why people get into drugs. We must look at the fundamental reasons and the impact of things-as Ms Dundas pointed out-like access to suitable accommodation or crisis accommodation when you get into trouble. In particular, we must look into services for men and some of the shortfalls there.
Mr Speaker, the opposition will be supporting this motion. It is timely, and the results that have come from the poverty task group tell me that, as a model, it can be very successful. I back up Ms Tucker's idea that it be very broad and that it look into both illicit and other substances. With that in mind, the Liberal Party will be supporting this motion.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (8.19): Mr Speaker, I am pleased that Ms Tucker has brought this motion on the issue of drug abuse and addiction to the Assembly today. As Mr Smyth has just said, we are not just talking about illicit drugs; we are also talking about the other major drugs of choice, alcohol and tobacco, and their use and misuse. Even that is a euphemism; I should say use and abuse.
Earlier this week I announced the results of a survey on the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs by secondary school students. When we reflect on the extent to which our children are associated with alcohol, tobacco and illicit substances, many of us are genuinely shocked, distressed and even frightened.
Since taking office last October, my government has been active in addressing issues relating to drugs, as everyone will be aware. In the last month or so I have written to the Prime Minister, to all the premiers and to the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory about the prospect of our developing a supervised prescription heroin trial in the ACT. It is a policy position that the Labor Party adopted and will continue to pursue.
Such a trial would be more relevant if another state or jurisdiction were prepared to partner the ACT in the trial; that is why I wrote to my interstate colleagues. It would be more legitimate and scientifically valid if more jurisdictions than just the ACT were prepared to go ahead with such a trial. I am still awaiting responses from the Prime