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School drug strategy has made little headway.

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Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate

Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Education


6 May 1999




The Federal Government has made little progress with implementing its Na tional School Drug Education Strategy, Senator Kim Carr, Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Education, said today.


A Senate Estimates Committee Hearing was told that, of the $7.5 million allocated for the Strategy, only $500,000 had been spent.


“This program was announced over eighteen months ago, in November 1997,” Senator Carr said. “Yet the Government has not progressed beyond a draft strategy which now sits with the Minister.


“Furthermore, the Government opted to carry out its consultations over the Drug Education Strategy during the Christmas-January period, when schools are closed,” said Senator Carr. “How can schools participate in consultation over the draft Strategy in December and January?


“Only twenty of Australia’s 10,000 schools had actually made direct submissions in response to the draft strategy. This poor result had to be anticipated because schools were on holidays.”


Senator Carr queried the Government’s commitment to the National Drug Education Strategy. “This program was heralded as the centrepiece of its overall strategy on drugs in schools. Yet for some reason the Government has lost the incentive to proceed.


“Why is the Government stalling on drug education?” he asked.


“At the current rate, this program will not be implemented by the time its three-year funding period expires.


“How many of Australia’s young people will fall victim to drugs before the Government acts?” Senator Carr asked.


“The Government is neglecting its responsibilities to the youth of Australia,” he said. “It must quit stalling and take action to educate school students about the dangers associated with drugs."


Further information: Senator Carr 02 6277 3730; or 0419 563 922 (mobile)