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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Page: 3209

Senator SHERRY (Assistant Treasurer) (1:41 PM) —Senator Xenophon, I can provide you with some material on the survey but not all today. So I will take that on notice and get you further details. The National Drug Strategy Household Survey is conducted every three years by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It is not done annually. I understand that the next survey will be carried out in the next few months and published. I do not have a date. That will give us some response data.

Senator Xenophon —Does that include teenage smokers?

Senator SHERRY —I am coming to that. It includes an age breakdown, so my assumption is—but I will get this confirmed—given that it does provide an age breakdown it will include teenagers, but I cannot say categorically. In respect of Indigenous communities, I cannot provide details. The sample size is too small. You may be aware that I have ministerial responsibility for the ABS. I will have a discussion with them to see whether or not we can improve the data collection set. I do not want to mislead you, Senator Xenophon. I would be surprised if we could do that for this survey coming up. Nevertheless, I will take it up with the ABS as well as, going forward beyond the next three-year data publication, seeing what can be done about the time frame of collecting data in this area, including data representative of Indigenous communities. If I can get further information for you, I will. That is the commitment I give. I will meet with the ABS about any of the issues in your questions that cannot be responded to.

On the social marketing issue a panel of experts has been appointed. I understand that there is no argument about the make-up of the panel. They are, identifiably, a panel of experts in the area. They will be providing advice on the program—the marketing and make-up of the program—and we will have that by the end of the year. The intention is that the marketing program will commence by the end of this year. As yet I cannot give you any further information for the obvious reason that the panel of experts has just been appointed.

On the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the issue of nicotine replacement, it is up to the group who oversee the PBS to make recommendations on that. We do not have a recommendation. There is some analysis to be carried out on nicotine replacement medication, presumably. Some would be available via prescription; some may not be available by prescription. I simply do not know; that is just speculation on my part. Anyway, we are awaiting recommendations about the PBS on the matter of nicotine replacement.