NSW Gov response to 2020 ice inquiry – too little, too late

Last month, NSWCCL, Josh Pallas spoke to regional radio in Coffs Harbour and Dubbo about the Perrottet Government's response to the 2020 ice inquiry.

More than two years after an $11m Special Commission of Inquiry into the drug ice, Premier Dominic Perrottet has finally responded continuing his vow for a zero-tolerance approach.

Premier Perrottet has said his government will not decriminalise low-level personal drug use, which was a key recommendation of the 2020 ice inquiry.  The inquiry made 109 recommendations, including “implementing a model for the decriminalisation of the use and possession for personal use of prohibited drugs”.

“This is yet another disappointing example of too little and too late from this government” says Josh Pallas, President of the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties.

The Premier’s zero-tolerance approach to people in NSW who have a problem with drug addiction flies in the face of all the evidence and recommendations from the Special Commission and is out of step with other States and Territories.” Said Mr Pallas. “The next logical step should be to adopt a health based, harm minimisation approach.”

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties asserts that zero tolerance remains one of the least helpful responses to the war on drugs. Its only role is to demand compliance with the law and its does nothing to reduce drug-related harm.

Mr Pallas said, “NSW has previously led the way in treatment and harm minimisation responses – and could do so again if we fully implemented the recommendations of the Special Commission’s final report within a comprehensive alcohol and other drugs strategy.”

Crystal methamphetamine, has arguably the biggest impact on families and their children, of all drugs. It destroys lives and livelihoods and can create ongoing trauma.  The powerful evidence submitted by individuals and their families to the inquiry with lived experience of Ice use, led to the development of specific evidence based recommendations relating to a lack of services and facilities, improved service coordination and recommendations to address the impact of inequity and social disadvantage on receiving treatment.

“Handing out a $400 fine to a young person with no capacity to pay does not strike me as problem solving” said Josh Pallas, President NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

“The only real solution is treatment. Fining individuals and locking people in overcrowded and expensive prisons just exacerbates the problem.”