A NORTHERN NSW MP has slammed the State Government for its response to the 109 recommendations.
A NORTHERN NSW MP has slammed the State Government for its response to the 109 recommendations.

‘Nice words’ are not enough to solve the ice problem

A NORTHERN NSW MP has claimed the State Government has failed to properly respond to its own "ice inquiry".

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin last year welcomed the fact the inquiry would visit Lismore during its public hearings and she's previously highlighted justice issues in regional areas.

Ms Saffin has now condemned the state's lack of financial response to the 109 recommendations that came out of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug Ice.

"The NSW Health Minister responded with nice words praising everyone, but this evidenced-based expert report requires a substantial response, beyond nice words," Ms Saffin said.

"The Premier and Deputy Premier's immediate response was to do nothing and reject some recommendations, without any consideration.

"They have bitterly disappointed local families and communities who are crying out for help, for care.

"Yes, they are challenging recommendations and many of us may be in two minds about them, but many families, neighbourhoods and communities face terrible challenges daily.

 

 

"They face the social, health and criminal impact of addiction, a medically known health problem; mayhem to many families let alone the person addicted, the suicides, the violence and the criminal records caused and carried for life.

"These are real life challenges in our country towns and cities.

"This well researched evidenced-based report, that covers community experience and sentiment, requires the Premier and the Deputy Premier to respond in the same way. Careful consideration and leadership.

"We want our communities cared for and healed, not further damaged."

She said the response so far has not achieved this.

"It seems the Liberal and National parties only accept expert medical evidence (which is the guts of this ICE Report) only when it suits their own purposes," she said.

"The bigger purpose here is the health of our families and our country communities, blighted by ICE and the NSW Opposition has stated its support for a Drugs Summit.

"That could be done in a bipartisan way for the sake of our communities and society."

Lismore councillor and lawyer Eddie Lloyd leads Lismore City Council's social justice and crime prevention committee and has long been vocal about a range of issues considered by the inquiry.

She's been pushing for a Drug Court and Koori Court to be considered for Lismore, which acts as the justice hub for most of the Northern Rivers.

She recently told the Sydney Morning Herald her committee wants the State Government to "put the weapons down and declare the war on drugs is over [and] recognise that substance use disorder is a health issue".

Ms Saffin said Drug Courts and Koori Courts were needed "right across New South Wales".

"The system right now is that we have to have certain jurisdictions and special courts," she said.

"Magistrates preside over most matters and are quite able to preside over such courts.

"We do not need to build Taj Mahals but just be practical and deal with the problems at hand."

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the state was still working through some of the recommendations.

"Commencement of the independent evaluation into the Youth Koori Court is dependent on the outcome of the tender, which is currently being finalised," Mr Speakman said.

"The NSW Government is carefully considering the recommendations from the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug Ice, including those related to the expansion of the Drug Court and the Youth Koori Court."



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