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Drugs bust highlights the danger of budget cuts.



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Hon Christopher Pyne MP

Shadow Minister for Justice & Border Protection Shadow Minister Assisting the Shadow Minister for Immigration & Citizenship Federal Member for Sturt

429 Magill Road Parliament House

ST MORRIS SA 5068 CANBERRA ACT 2600

Media Release

Drugs bust highlights the danger of budget cuts

“The Australian Federal Police should be commended for their work in apprehending a NSW Crime Commission investigator yesterday for the planned importation of chemicals crucial in the production of Ice,” said the Shadow Minister for Justice and Border Protection Christopher Pyne.

“However this case highlights the Government’s recklessness in cutting funding to Australia’s Border Protection agencies in this year’s Budget.

“The AFP, Customs, and ACLEI (the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity) perform a crucial role in countering the criminal drug trade. This year’s funding cuts, and the cynical

“Ice in particular is a drug that destroys individuals, families and communities.

“This case highlights that the criminal drug producers are now working harder to import the chemicals - Mark Standen was arrested for attempting to import ephedrine products that would have produced $120 million worth of ice.

“Thanks to the success of the previous Government in making it harder to produce Ice locally, criminal elements will have to put more effort into importing such drug chemicals.

“But the Rudd Government’s outrageous response has been to cut funding to the very agencies who need extra funds to stop this smuggling. What’s more, the Government also cut funding this year to the National Psychostimulants Initiative in the health area by $4 million which supports key programs such as the National Working Group into Precursor Chemicals. This Working Group was crucial in the development of Project Stop, and is needed now more than ever.

“If Kevin Rudd cares about stopping Australia’s illicit drug trade, they should admit that they have made a mistake in cutting Border Protection funding, and reverse the cuts.

3 June 2008

Media Contact: Adam Howard 0400 414 833