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Monday, 18 June 2001
Page: 27749


Mrs DRAPER (6:12 PM) —This evening I would like to take the opportunity to speak on a number of issues in the grievance debate. I am delighted that the Hon. Trish Worth, the member for Adelaide, who is a parliamentary secretary for the portfolio area of our Tough on Drugs campaign, is in the chamber tonight. She does a great job for her electorate of Adelaide and, indeed, for the people of Australia.

There has been some recent controversy over the release of drug testing kits that allow parents to test if their children are using drugs. I fully support any measure that will help us to remove the scourge of drugs from our homes and schools. Ann Bressington from Drugbeat, Shay Louise House, which is located adjacent to my electorate, has recently travelled to Amsterdam and Sweden to compare the different approaches to tolerance of drugs in our society. Sadly, Ann's findings are similar to mine and those of others who have seen first-hand the devastation and impact caused by policies where drugs are tolerated in society, as in Amsterdam, Holland. In contrast, the Swedish `zero tolerance' policy appears to be winning the drugs war. Comparing the outcomes in both countries, I believe that the Swedish early intervention model seems to be the best so far.

I will be launching our Tough on Drugs schools competition again in Makin soon, and I am delighted that Ann Bressington from Drugbeat has offered to make a presentation to all schools in my electorate as well as presentations to parent information evenings, with the details to be announced. I will once again be meeting with all the principals of secondary schools, primary schools, our church leaders, local police and youth workers in preparation for our Tough on Drugs campaign in Makin.

We cannot afford to be tolerant of drugs in our society. The war is not lost and as a community we need to continue to be tough on drugs. I am pleased that this policy has been implemented and continued by the Howard government. As I said earlier, I am delighted that we have Trish Worth, parliamentary secretary, with us in the chamber tonight. I would like to thank Senator Jeannie Ferris, as a guest editor in my current newsletter, for outlining her findings from a recent international conference. The following is an extract from the good senator's comments:

In Australia 60 per cent of children under the age of 16 have experimented with marijuana; 190,000 people are infected with hepatitis C, and 80 per cent of infections are through intravenous drug use; and amphetamines are becoming more readily available at a cheaper price.

Recently, I attended an international drug conference in Sweden and saw how effective their drug rehabilitation strategy is in giving young people a chance to get off drugs.

Sweden used to have liberalised drug laws; however they stopped and took stock of the cost of this approach and realised that something has to change as drug use was on the increase and the cost to society was alarming.

Swedes came to realise that children should not be losing their dreams to drug addiction.

Now the Swedish message is simple. `Don't use drugs. If you have started, stop. And if you need help to stop we will help you.'

Drug police operate in Sweden targeting popular youth venues. Plain clothed officers patrol these clubs and if people are under the influence of a drug they are taken to a detox centre. If they are under the age of 18, parents are immediately involved in the process with social support services called in to assist with the decision on the young person's future.

Several rehabilitation centres are run by the Hassela movement on the island of Gotland and I spent some time in the three clinics which was valuable in understanding the approach that is taken by the Swedes.

There are three main steps in rehabilitation:

1. Three months in an intensive program, including counselling on a one-to-one basis with light work at the centre.

2. One to two years of education and community work at a second-stage centre with more responsibility for each individual.

3. Finally, staying involved in community work and developing new interests such as theatre, music and physical education.

This rehabilitation appears to be successful because it addresses the causes of drug abuse by looking at each person's life and trying to understand why they have turned to drugs. Hassela then teaches them to focus on the future, complete their education and look to develop a profession.

The cost of this rehabilitation is not cheap; however when the cost of drug-related crime in our society is considered, it could be viewed as an important investment in our future.

One of the most important messages that the Swedes promote is: `Every young person has a future—no one is too hopeless to change.'

I strongly support this view. Everyone should have the chance to reach their goals and sometimes young people need extra help to achieve these goals.

I would like to thank Senator Jeannie Ferris for her contribution to my newsletter. On a different note, I was greatly honoured to have the Prime Minister visit the electorate of Makin recently, for a community morning tea at S'fera's on the Park conference centre. The opportunity for all those who attended to meet and exchange views and ideas with the Prime Minister was invaluable. I thank all those who attended for their views on a range of issues that the Prime Minister heard. As I said in my speech on that morning, many critics have complained of the Prime Minister's `old-fashioned family values', but I am more than happy to support them. I believe the most important job I will ever do in my lifetime is to be a parent and a mother. Part of my role as the federal member for Makin is to work together with the Prime Minister and the coalition government, with their policies, to make a difference and to make things better not only for the people in Makin but for the people in Australia.

An independent study by Australia's leading research centre for vocational education and training has confirmed that the Howard government's popular New Apprenticeships system continues to be an outstanding success. New Apprenticeships combines practical work with structured training and offers participants nationally recognised qualifications and experience. More young people than ever before are taking up new apprenticeships. Nearly half of all teenage full-time employees are in a new apprenticeship. Ninety per cent of new apprentices are employed three months after completion of their training, making this a first choice option for young people, in particular, to secure a great job and career. The Howard government supports New Apprenticeships with financial incentives of up to $4,400 for New Apprenticeships employers. I would urge all employers in Makin and across Australia to look into the benefits of New Apprenticeships.

I would like to add that I was absolutely delighted to be able to announce $700,000 in additional federal government funding for the Modbury Special School and the Modbury South Primary School within my electorate, with $580,00 being allocated to the Correa Unit at Modbury Special School. This special unit is for children who have autism. I want to say to all the parents and families, and particularly the principal involved in designing and creating the unit, that we are absolutely delighted that we have such a facility to look after these young people with those learning difficulties. The Correa Unit was opened by me and Dr David Kemp, Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, on Friday, 23 March.

Another great initiative by the Howard government is to make funding available under the Television Black Spots Program. This program would enable financial assistance to be made in my electorate of Makin to the Salisbury Council to install a retransmission device to boost poor signal reception in the area. After considerable efforts to apply for and receive special funding under the Television Black Spots Program, together with Salisbury Council, we are most concerned that our efforts may be in vain. The Salisbury Council has indicated it may drop the plans to build the facility due to the ongoing maintenance costs. The Howard government has confirmed that it is prepared to pay the $125,000 required for a retransmission device to boost poor signal reception in the area, but the council are concerned about taking on another responsibility as they believe the continuing upkeep of the tower is not a council task. Under the national Television Black Spots Program, any application for infrastructure funding assistance requires the applicant—in this case Salisbury Council—to pay for maintenance of the site, estimated at $13,000 per annum. I have agreed to take the issue of maintenance funding up with my government; however, many councils throughout Australia have agreed to fund maintenance programs as part of the conditions of the Television Black Spots Program. My primary concern is that residents along the Para escarpment area in the electorate of Makin, including Para Hills, Salisbury East and parts of Ingle Farm, can receive reasonable television reception, which they deserve. (Time expired)