Page 3135 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 22 August 2017
have been made, how this impacts both inmates and staff, and whether these changes are the most efficient and effective for the AMC and the community as a whole. There are also questions about under what guidelines these changes were made, as the review into methadone prescribing in the ACT has still not been completed.
The ACT government has let down the community by failing to deliver its review into the ACT methadone prescribing guidelines. The review was meant to be completed in 2012 but was pushed back to 2014 when the national opioid dependency treatment guidelines were to be released. However, three years after the national guidelines were released, the review has still not been completed. This is further proof that the minister for health and the Minister for Corrections have lost interest in their portfolios, and do not believe that serving the people of Canberra with effective, efficient and honest government is a priority.
The ACT government should clarify if the delay into the methadone prescribing guidelines has in any way impacted on the health of those whom we are treating for opioid dependency, and in particular those we are treating for opioid dependency within our custodial system.
Sadly, there has also been the death of Mark O’Connor in the AMC. Once again I do not wish to make comments about this specific situation, but I will make a wider point. At the time of his death, Mr O’Connor was said to have had a mixture of methamphetamine and buprenorphine in his system, among other substances. Buprenorphine is used as part of opioid dependency treatment and, again, there are questions as to how effectively and efficiently our opioid dependency treatment is actually operating inside the AMC.
Mrs Jones and the Canberra Liberals also have concerns about illicit drugs in our prison. We have a Minister for Corrections who has essentially given up on the policing of illicit drugs in our prison, and who wishes to condone this behaviour by implementing a needle exchange program. This is not good enough. We understand that there will always be a market for illicit drugs within prisons, and that people are always finding ways to get drugs to their customers on the inside. But giving up and condoning this behaviour is not the answer. There must always be an attitude of zero tolerance towards illicit drug taking in our prisons. Mrs Jones believes that the minister and the ACT government needs to address this area more seriously.
Mrs Jones and the entire Canberra Liberals call on the ACT government to address these issues in our justice health system as a matter of priority.
MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (4.52): I want to address briefly a couple of issues of importance to the Indigenous community in this directorate. The first concerns the growing numbers of the Indigenous community suffering from tobacco, alcohol and drug addiction. Because of the move away from an Indigenous rehabilitation service at the Ngunnawal bush healing farm, despite claims from this government that it was never intended, the Indigenous peoples of Canberra are once again left without a culturally appropriate drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. This community is in dire need of such a centre. Currently, patients travel to Wagga or to Nowra, each a minimum six-hour return journey by car for family to visit.