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Monday, 30 November 2015
Page: 14197


Mrs McNAMARA (Dobell) (12:13): I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that the drug 'ice' is at epidemic proportions and having a huge impact on our communities;

(2) acknowledges the Government has:

(a) identified the ferocity of the ice epidemic across Australia;

(b) put in place the National Ice Taskforce (NIT) to begin implementing positive programs and changes to help stop the scourge of ice; and

(c) announced $1 million in funding has been made available to Crime Stoppers to roll out a national Dob in a Dealer campaign to help combat Australia's ice scourge; and

(3) notes that the NIT final report was recently delivered to the Government with identified actions on how local, state and federal governments can work with communities to take a systematic, comprehensive and coordinated approach to Australia's ice scourge.

I have spoken in this House on many occasions about the ongoing need to address the epidemic of ice in my electorate and in communities across Australia. I will fight to continue looking out for the safety and welfare of residents in my electorate and for the eradication of this insidious drug from our society. We need to support front-line professionals, including police, paramedics, healthcare and welfare officers, and families as they tackle the impact of this drug on local communities. Every day they are on the front line seeing the devastation and destruction caused by ice and picking up the pieces.

In my electorate, Brisbane Water Local Area Command and Tuggerah Lakes Local Area Command are committed to stamping out ice and they have proactive crime teams undertaking countless hours of work to stop the dealers and backyard manufacturers. But despite the hard work of the police, unfortunately we continue to see a rise in offences related to this highly addictive drug ice.

Brisbane Water LAC has reported a 100 per cent rise in the two years July 2013 to June 2015, while Tuggerah Lakes LAC has seen a rise of 36 per cent in the same period. Australians, per capita, are the highest consumers of ice in the world. This continues to place an ever-increasing strain on our communities and resources. The ice problem is so dire in some communities that it is easy to become paralysed in identifying where to begin to deal with the scourge.

Our frontline medics struggle under the pressure of dealing with the ice-induced psychosis, super-human strength and aggression of the addicts they attempt to treat. Police resources are under increasing pressure as police confront dealers, manufacturers and users, and combat the crime—such as theft, property damage, drugged driving and assault—associated with ice addiction. Our rehabilitation and community service providers struggle to meet the demands of those seeking access to rehabilitation.

The National Ice Taskforce has identified the drastic need for all levels of government to unite and work cooperatively to increase education and community support programs in order to begin to reduce uptake and demand. The task force has made a series of recommendations that present an opportunity to take control of the ice epidemic by working with communities to take a systematic, comprehensive and coordinated approach.

The taskforce has made recommendations in relation to establishing strong community research, treatment, education and prevention and recognises that, while law enforcement is absolutely important and necessary, in order to see an end to the ice epidemic we need to focus on embracing and equipping the community. It is the community that hurts and suffers the pain of the ice epidemic. The community is left to repair the havoc which is left in the wake of ice usage.

As users become addicted and disconnected from society they turn to crime. They turn on their own friends of families. Parents witness their children becoming unrecognisable, violent, desperate, losing inhibitions, and stealing and destroying in order to get their next fix. Children witness their parents' decline. They see them go from being loving, caring and nurturing protectors to being neglectful and abusive, which results in hunger and fear.

Have no doubt, ice causes unimaginable pain and fear for the families of the people who succumb to ice addiction. They face not only the decline of their loved ones in health, mind and spirit but also the endless worry of where they are. Families wonder: "Are they alive? When will they come home and what state will they be in?" They suffer a complete sense of helplessness and hopelessness, with little knowledge of what they can do to help the ones they love. On one hand, with hearts of love, loyalty and compassion, they cling to memories of what was, but on the other hand they are afraid and frustrated and want to give up because they are tired of being robbed, assaulted and abused.

I am fighting in my electorate for families who are weighed down by the anguish of having a loved one addicted to ice. These families require care, resources and support to help them get through their fears and vulnerabilities as they attempt to navigate their way through the tempestuous territory of addiction. These families need tangible and practical support, counselling and guidance because they make significant contributions to helping users who are attempting to break their addiction and rehabilitate. The support of a loved one can prevent a user from relapsing, keep them attending treatment and support groups, and help them reintegrate into family and social life. The families of users need support, and I remain steadfast in my commitment to making sure support mechanisms are available in Dobell for these families.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Price ): Do we have a seconder for the motion? I see that we do have a seconder, who reserves the right to speak in this debate.