South Australian Ice Taskforce

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 14:48 :50 ): My question is to the Minister for Police and relates to the Ice Taskforce. Minister, in your role as chair of the ministerial crystal methamphetamine (ice) task force, will you commit your task force to hold a small panel forum in the Riverland as the communities of Adelaide CBD, north and south, Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge, Port Pirie and Whyalla have also received and enjoyed?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 14:49 :25 ): I thank the honourable member for his important question. The Ice taskforce is an incredibly important undertaking on behalf of the government to try to tackle this rather insidious drug that is affecting communities, not just in South Australia but also around the country more broadly. The Premier has been very clear in his expectations of me and the task force in undertaking this effort, that it should be a 60-day project with the objective of developing a comprehensive policy response that the state government can have responsibility for, that will have a positive impact on the ground sooner rather than later when it comes to the mitigation of the use of ice in our communities.

We have had extensive meetings to date. We have met in Murray Bridge, Whyalla, Mount Gambier and Mawson Lakes. More recently (just last week), we met in McLaren Vale. So, myself and other members of the task force have been getting around as far and wide as we reasonably can. We have also visited Port Pirie and other spots within metropolitan Adelaide.

Getting around and speaking to those people who are working with those people affected by ice, speaking to parents of children who have been affected by ice, speaking to addicts themselves, speaking to employers who have seen a growing level of ice use within their workplace, speaking to community groups like sporting clubs and so forth who have seen ice infiltrate their environment, has been a rather eye-opening and, indeed, on occasions, rather profound experience. Hearing directly from those people who are affected plays a very important role in the process of developing a policy response that is actually going to make a difference on the ground.

The government is unapologetic about adopting a 60-day time line for this task force. What has struck the task force over recent weeks is how urgent it is for us to try to develop a response that is going to have that positive impact. I think there are a lot of people within these affected communities that have seen other task forces, including the federal government task force, come and go and, although that effort has been positive and has undertaken some good work, it has not delivered a response on the ground as quickly as they would like.

They are consulted and task forced out. What they are looking for are measures being put in place that will assist to deal with this problem on both the supply side of the equation and the demand side of the equation. It has been clear that ice is an insidious drug that requires a specific response. This task force is not looking at alcohol and other drugs; its mandate is specifically to look at ice, or crystal methamphetamine.

Regarding the Riverland, I am happy to inform the chamber that the member for Chaffey was invited to attend and nominate stakeholders from the Riverland who have experienced the impact of ice. A letter was sent to the member for Chaffey, inviting and calling for nominations, on 8 March this year. Residents from the Riverland attended the Murray Bridge forum. If the member for Chaffey or anyone else within the Riverland, other constituents, would like to make a contribution to this task force, I would encourage them to go online to the YourSAy website. I am advised that we still have the YourSAy website taking submissions around this important piece of work.

We have heard from lots of people throughout this exercise. The YourSAy website has had in excess of 650 views and, of course, some people were able to make submissions via that. Having a response from the community writ large is important. We want to get this right but, at the same time, we don’t want to delay a response. It is high time that those people who are affected by this insidious drug get the response they deserve, which means it should be delivered quickly, and that is very much the government’s objective.

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