The Prime Minister’s announcement of a specialised national Taskforce to tackle the scourge of the drug ice in our communities is an important step towards forcing action on the issue from the Tasmanian Government, Greens’ Health spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said today.
“This Taskforce will undertake critical work to understand the increasing level of crystal methamphetamine use in all jurisdictions, its devastating social impact and, importantly, to determine what measures each State and Territory government has in place to reduce the profound harms caused by ice,” Ms O’Connor said.
“On any reasonable measure, the Hodgman Government and particularly Health Minister, Michael Ferguson, have adopted a do-little approach to this major public health issue affecting our communities.”
“Despite the significant lack of treatment facilities for ice users and woefully inadequate approach to early intervention and prevention in Tasmania, the Health Minister has repeatedly downplayed the significance of the unfolding social crisis in Tasmania.”
“In Parliament, the best Mr Ferguson can say is that the government doesn’t have the money to provide more treatment facilities and early intervention funding yet yesterday, the same government gave $1 million to a private sawmiller in the North.”
“One million dollars invested in saving lives from ice would be money far better spent.”
“One million dollars would go a long way towards educating young Tasmanians about the life-destroying consequences of using ice.”
“Ultimately, it’s all about your priorities and to date, investing to reduce the wicked, inter-generational harms caused by ice has not been a priority of this government despite the growing body of evidence that the use of ice is increasing in Tasmania and the increasingly desperate calls from stakeholders for action and resources.”
“Hopefully, the establishment of the national Taskforce will push this government into taking this major public health issue much more seriously than it has to date,” Ms O’Connor said.