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Motion to Delay Decriminalisation of Dangerous Drugs

In 2020, families with loved ones struggling to access drug treatment services asked me to sponsor a petition for them. The petition emphasised that ‘specialist alcohol, tobacco and other drug services can no longer meet demand, with waiting lists growing even longer’ and attracted 699 signatures. The inquiry triggered by this petition was overtaken by the ACT Government’s decision to decriminalise hard drugs instead.

The inquiry into that bill found that Canberra has ‘a significant lack of availability of [drug and alcohol] services’. In its 2023–24 budget submission, ATODA estimated that the funding shortfall for these services is $24 million per annum, with nearly 5,000 Canberrans awaiting access.

Experts agree that, without adequate, well-funded treatment services, drug reform is doomed to fail. Today I urged the Labor-Greens government to delay its decriminalisation of dangerous drugs in the ACT until December next year to make it possible for necessary services (including a new residential treatment centre in Watson) to be in place first. Pretending that drug decriminalisation will somehow help people access treatment when existing treatment services are overwhelmed is a cruel, twisted, sick joke.

Click on the arrow button to read my speech.


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