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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2283 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

... giving Commonwealth law enforcement agencies extra resources to enable them to effectively protect Australia's borders and its community from illicit drugs.

Attempts at addressing the supply of drugs have resulted in larger and larger drug seizures, which is to be commended. However, it has not reduced the rate of drug dependency, as a statement from the federal government's own strategy admits. I quote:

It is not possible to ascertain the exact total cost of illicit drug use to the Australian community. Some components can be measured directly, such as government expenditure specifically sourced from the National Illicit Drug Strategy, but many of the social costs borne by the community, such as the extra cost of welfare, health, and law and order services, can only be estimated. In addition, a number of costs associated with illicit drug use are not quantifiable, such as pain and suffering resulting from a reduced quality of life.

National Drug Action Week is the appropriate time to recognise that being tough on drugs does not recognise the depth of the problem in Australia, nor does it provide a coherent framework for the allocation of government moneys or policies. Only with the recognition of the empirical evidence concerning substance use can a real government strategy, with a national approach, be developed.

So let's recognise the work of our agencies and community groups in the ACT who carry out this difficult work. Let's also work towards a policy framework that gives them the recognition they deserve on a continuing basis by recognising the real needs of the people they assist.

MR SPEAKER: The time for discussion on this matter has expired.

Brindabella-election commitments

Debate resumed.

MR SMYTH (4.37): Mr Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and talk about the electorate of Brindabella, look at the government's commitment and the wonderful speech we had this morning from Mr Hargreaves about what they have done and what they have achieved.

Ms Dundas made a very appropriate point about the important use of time here in the Assembly and these self-congratulatory motions-that really there should be no place for those in this Assembly. Let us go to the essence of what Mr Hargreaves contended.

Mr Hargreaves in point (3) (1) says that the Labor Party welcomes the early delivery of election commitments such as investing in Brindabella schools via the abolition of the $27 million free bus travel scheme. Mr Speaker, there is about $19 million allocated. There is about $6 million, $7 million or $8 million to come. I wait to see how that will be spent in Brindabella.

It is important that we have a good education system and it is important that it is well funded. The credit goes to Mr Stefaniak, who gained the accolade for having established the most significant educational achievement in the history of self-government, when he started the move to reduce class sizes. We congratulate Bill on that.

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