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New fund to fight drug crime



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MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS SENATOR MICHAEL TATE MEDIA RELEASE

MEDIA RET.R&fiB 15 APRIL 1992

NEW FUND TO FIGHT DRUG CRIME

A new Drug Crime Prevention Fund is to be established to support projects which tackle crime connected with drug abuse.

It will be set up under the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse to support national law enforcement projects which concentrate on crime issues related to drug abuse..

The Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs, Senator Michael Tate, said the program would be funded at the level of $1 million in the first year, rising to a minimum of $1*5 million in the third and subsequent years.

"Drinking and drug abuse contribute to much of the violence in society, as people lose control and forfeit the ability to find alternative solutions".

Senator Tate said that recent research in New South Wales showed that alcohol was a contributing factor in 73 percent of assaults and 77 percent of all street offences.

"Alcohol abuse is linked to half of the criminal assaults in the home and 30 percent of child abuse, in addition to a third of fatalities as a result of road accidents and drownings", he said.

The decision to establish the Fund was made at a meeting in Sydney today of the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy, attended by health and law enforcement ministers and officials.

Today's meeting also agreed to move within State and Territory jurisdictions over three years to a specific allocation of 10 percent of total drug strategy funds to support law enforcement projects,

Senator Tate said law enforcement ministers and officials had committed themselves to the goals and the combined law enforcement and health approach of the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse.

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"The overall objective la to minimise the harm caused by the use of both legal and illegal drugs in the community."

Senator Tate said it was a co-operative, collaborative effort by health and law enforcement, considerably different to the United States "zero tolerance* police approach which aims to eradicate all illicit drug use.

"in Australia we see this collaboration as essential, because the health issues clearly have critical implications for those in law enforcement," Senator Tate said.

Released by Adrian Wild - 002/349100 or 06/277 7260