NSW Drug Summit Motion Newtown State Electoral Council NSW Labor

NSW Labor have committed to a Drug Summit in 2024. This commitment represents a
significant shift in the NSW Government’s approach to drug policy, which should be
commended as an important step.

Until now, NSW and Australia have treated illicit drugs as a criminal problem. It has fallen in
step with the popular war on drugs rhetoric, and in turn, treated the use of illicit substances as
a problem that should be punished and eradicated. This hard line approach has not worked,
and we commend the government’s move to introduce fines and treatment options for small
quantity personal use offences.

Labor’s 1999 Drug Summit remains a significant and defining moment for drug law reform in
Australia and the world - the 2024 Drug Summit gives NSW a chance once again to lead the
conversation about drug use and harm minimisation.

The Drug Summit is an opportunity to recast the problematic use of drugs as a matter of public
health policy with whole of government implications. This shift is an important step in
de-stigmatisation, removing barriers for individuals in acute distress, or with long-term
dependencies to seek help without fear of criminal penalties. It will also provide an opportunity
streamline resources and build on the understanding developed in treating the problematic use
and addiction of alcohol and prescription medication.

A Drug Summit with a whole of government approach must also be an opportunity to examine
the structural reasons driving drug misuse and dependency. The intersections of social,
economic, housing and education policy are known contributors to drug misuse and
dependency, and it is unfair and illogical to expect the police and justice system to shoulder the
burden alone.

Further, the Summit creates the space to talk about the recreational drug use. Criminalisation
and stigmatisation has only led to a dearth of reputable information resulting in societies
generally poor understanding the effect different drugs have on the body creating further risk to

Finally, the Summit is a chance to involve the community in the policy making process. Such
involvement is crucial for changing the demonisation of drug use and users and addressing the
over policing of minority populations -- when in reality, we know recreational use traverses
postcodes. The success of reform depends on changing the way we talk about drugs, and those
who use them.

Accordingly, we support the Minns Government’s Drug Summit, and encourage the NSW Government to take swift action and announce the date and plan for the upcoming Summit;
1. This branch recognises that real action on drug law reform and harm minimisation is
urgently needed in New South Wales.
2. Commends the Minns Labor Government for committing to host a drug summit in its first
term of government and encourages a date and agenda to be set as soon as possible.
3. Encourages the Minns Labor Government to take the recommendations with general
application from the Special Commission of Inquiry into the drug ‘Ice’. We should focus on
moving forward with timely and meaningful action, building on the work that has already been
4. Calls on the Minns Labor Government to ensure all Alcohol and Drug (AOD) issues and
responses are on the table. The Summit should incorporate discussions on all types of drugs
including alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs; pill-testing; regulatory and policing practices;
divergent legal frameworks including legalisation and decriminalisation; drink and drug driving
laws; social and public health services; the music and festival industry; expansion of medically
supervised injecting centers; review of strip searching and sniffer dogs and supply of safe
injecting options in prisons.
5. Encourages the Minns Labor Government to ensure that the Summit takes an all of
government approach, and the program includes public forums, regional and rural
engagement, diverse and multicultural communities; meaningful engagement with
stakeholders across festivals, nightlife venues, community groups, legal and justice
stakeholders, the education sector and the health sector.
6. Calls on the Minns Labor Government to enable public submissions to the Drug Summit.
7. Encourages the Minns Labor Government to ensure people with lived experience are at the
centre of the Drug Summit.