In Question Time today Health Minister, Michael Ferguson, could not point to a single concrete action he or his Department have taken to reduce the harms caused by the growing use of Crystal Methamphetamine, or Ice, in Tasmania, Greens' Health spokesperson, Cassy O'Connor MP said today.
"It is now more than four months since ABC Four Corners exposed the growing and insidious use of Ice in Tasmania and the desperate shortage of treatment facilities for addicts, yet all we have seen from the Minister so far is an internally conflicted Departmental paper that stated there is no evidence of an Ice epidemic in Tasmania, but also confirmed there is no data to determine the extent of Ice use and harms in Tasmania," Ms O'Connor said.
"There were 13 Ice addicts on the waiting list at Serenity House in Burnie in January, and yet the Minister today confirmed no extra resources have been, or are being, allocated towards providing this desperately needed support."
"Ice is killing Tasmanians. It is robbing children of their childhoods and making the work of community sector workers much more dangerous, but to the enormous frustration of those working at the frontline of this scourge, this Health Minister seems content to do nothing."
"The Minister has heard, not just in the national media but also from the coordinator at Serenity House and director of the Rural Health Network of Tasmania, that Ice use is an urgent and pressing problem in Tasmania."
"He is playing deaf to these concerns while lives are being laid to waste by this highly addictive, dangerous drug. Mr Ferguson is abrogating his responsibility towards disadvantaged Tasmanians, including women and children who are facing the violent consequences of Ice addiction in the family."
"It's a disgraceful response from the Minister and the Government," Ms O'Connor said.