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Health Minister Missing in Action

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 19 March 2015

Tags: Methamphetamine, Drug Policy, Health

In Parliament today, Health Minister, Michael Ferguson, could not point to a single concrete action he or the government have taken to address the escalating issue of crystal methamphetamine, or Ice, use in our communities.

Greens Health Spokesperson, Cassy O'Connor MP, said it is now five months since ABC Four Corners revealed the impact of Ice on towns in regional Tasmania, yet the government has allocated no extra resources to tackling the issue and reducing the profound harms caused by Ice despite the pleas from stakeholders working on the frontline.

"Ice is destroying lives and tearing our communities apart, and the latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey shows its use in Tasmania doubled between 2010-13," Ms O'Connor said.

"The only funds being dedicated to educating young people about the harms of Ice is a $50 000 grant from the national Potter Foundation to Rural Health Tasmania Inc, to be spent engaging young people in Circular Head."

"That is simply not good enough.  This is a statewide problem and it requires an adequately resourced statewide response by government."

"Minister Ferguson asserted in today's debate that his Government was 'doing what was responsible', but so far we are still waiting to see what that is. He could not detail how many of the 11 recommendations in his own review were being adopted."

"As far as we know, the report into drug use in the North-West Coast is still sitting in the Minister's in-tray and waiting for some action, any action, from the Minister," Ms O'Connor said.