The findings of a parliamentary report on the use and distribution of crystal methamphetamine – commonly known as ‘ice’ – are not good news for Tasmania, Labor Senator Lisa Singh says.
On Wednesday night in Canberra, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement tabled the first report from its inquiry into ice consumption and distribution in Australia.
The report recommends, among other things, that the implementation and achievements of the National Ice Action Strategy be reported on and that state and territory governments commit to implementing drug diversionary programs where they do not exist and improving and expanding them where they do.
From a Tasmanian perspective, the report notes that Hobart’s wastewater – along with Canberra’s – recorded the lowest level of methamphetamine in the country.
But regional sites here showed some of the highest levels in their wastewater.
Tasmanian Labor Senator Lisa Singh is deputy chairwoman of the committee, while Tasmanian Liberal senators Eric Abetz and David Bushby are also members.
Senator Singh said that if Tasmania was to win the “battle against ice”, it needed strong investment in drug treatment, support and harm minimisation services.
Senator Abetz said it was important to “fight drug distribution because of the real individual, family and societal harm that [it] inflicts”.
Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania acting chief executive Jackie Hallam said drug use should be treated as a health issue, not a law and order issue.
Community Legal Centres Tasmania policy officer Benedict Bartl agreed with Dr Hallam, saying the law enforcement approach was “not working”.