Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet has made it ‘very clear’ that he will not support the decriminalization of low-level personal drug possession two years after the recommendation was made as part of a $10.8 million investigation. dollars on drug use.
The government today pledged $50 million for health and justice reform strategies, including allowing low-level drug offenders without prior convictions to avoid court under a policy of “ two shots”.
Perrottet said 86 of the 109 recommendations will be supported with a focus on supporting justice, expanding drug courts and rehabilitation services.
“Drugs have no place in our society,” he said today.
“But those who have been caught up in drug use need health care and support, and this response puts people at the centre.”
An investigation report was released two years ago in response to drug overdoses among young people, Perrottet defending the extended response time.
“It’s a very complex question,” he said.
“Every mother and father would expect this government to take the time to get it right.”
The government has said its response is not to “get soft” in the war on drugs, but to “provide health care and support for drug users”.
“When you look at drugs in our communities, they are a scourge on our society and they impact our communities, our families and our individuals,” Deputy Prime Minister Paul Toole said.
“We want to make sure that we provide support to those who need it.”
New “two-step” approach to the penal response for drug addicts
Attorney General Mark Speakman has announced that the government will introduce a “pre-court diversion program”, which is essentially a two-step policy before offenders are sent back to court.
The program means that drug users are entitled to two criminal offense notices when arrested by the police.
Speakman said the “offender” can avoid the fine if they attend a telehealth program or a drug and alcohol support service.
“Like when you register your car, you get your pink slip and the mechanic sends the number to the registration authority to say it’s been done,” he said.
“The health care provider will send the violation number to the IRS to waive the fine.”
Speakman said infringement notices will not be available to people with criminal records and they will be subject to normal court procedures.
Police crackdown complemented by health reform
Police will continue to crack down on the supply, importation and distribution of drugs in New South Wales.
“We are still targeting drug suppliers, distributors, importers and those creating the problem we face today,” said NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard welcomed the opportunity for the health and justice system to work together to deliver better outcomes for individuals and families affected by drug use.
He said “it won’t be easy,” but the $500 million commitment will help expand health and rehabilitation services.
“We all know someone who has been affected by drugs in some way, so this report gives hope for the future,” Hazzard said.
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While this investigation focused on drugs, Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said other legal and illegal drugs “have significant impacts on our community” that also need to be addressed.
Funding is indexed to go towards health-related programs, particularly for regional areas.
Chant added that the focus will be on Indigenous Australians and drug addiction, as well as educating young people about the harms of drugs.