Page 840 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 20 March 2012

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the failure of the ACT Government to stop the prohibited drug trade;

the failure of the ACT Government to stop the use of drugs in the ACT; and

the request that the ACT Government conduct a public debate with a view to revising relevant ACT drug laws and policies.

The failure to stop the prohibited drug trade

The illicit drug trade is a global problem that is faced by governments both domestically and internationally. The ACT Government recognises that the international drug trade is a complex issue that transcends borders and involves serious and organised crime groups.

The ACT Government’s response to the international drug trade relies on the Commonwealth Government’s law enforcement and legislative response, the co-operation of State and Territory Governments and Australia’s international treaty obligations. The ACT Government actively contributes to the development and review of our national response to the illicit drug trade through our involvement with national working groups, committees and reviews.

Australia’s national response to the illicit drug trade is guided by the National Drug Strategy. The Strategy provides the framework for our national drug policy, which has the aim of minimising the harms to individuals, families and communities from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

The National Drug Strategy is based on the harm minimisation approach which encompasses three broad concepts: demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction. Supply reduction is the concept that directly relates to the illicit drug trade, and the criminal legislative response. The National Drug Strategy describes the aims of supply reduction as ‘to prevent, stop, disrupt or otherwise reduce the production and supply of illegal drugs; and to control, manage and/or regulate the availability of legal drugs’.

The ACT Government contributes to this strategy and the policies that operate under the strategy through our involvement in the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs (IGCD). The IGCD is a Commonwealth, State and Territory Government forum that consists of representatives from health and law enforcement agencies in Australia and New Zealand.

The Commonwealth’s serious drug offences, located in the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (the Commonwealth Criminal Code), were updated and modernised in 2005 in order to target organised illicit drug traders and commercially motivated drug crimes. The ACT Government has also implemented amendments, with our Criminal Code (Serious Drug Offences) Act commencing in 2005. These amendments were informed by a national discussion (the Model Criminal Code) aimed at producing model serious drug offences.

Domestically, to address the role of serious organised crime and the illegal drug trade, the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments have committed to a national response to serious and organised crime. In 2010, reforms were passed to Commonwealth legislation to strengthen and target the legislative response to serious organised crime.

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