Premier ‘closes door’ on festival pill testing

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has committed to providing penalty-free drug bins at music festival to increase safety but declared that she was "closing the door on pill testing".

In response to the deputy coroner's investigation into deaths at music festivals, revellers will now be able to dispose illegal drugs without any questions or prosecution from police.

As part of The Ripple Effect investigation, The Daily Telegraph last week revealed NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller and Police Minister David Elliott had backed the idea of Amnesty drug bins.

"We believe amnesty bins are a good way to increase safety so that young people if they see police or see other activity don't panic and have the opportunity, without any questions asked, to throw those pills away," Ms Berejiklian said.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing her plan to introduce the drug bins. Picture: Mick Tsikas
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing her plan to introduce the drug bins. Picture: Mick Tsikas

"But the strongest message we continue to give as a government is that drugs kill you, that's why they are illegal. Do not take MDMA, do not take ecstasy, do not take any illegal drug."

When asked if the collected drugs would be tested, analysed and the results made public, Ms Berejiklian said: "I am closing the door on pill testing."

The amnesty drug bins will be rolled out at festivals from December 28 onwards.

Ms Berejiklian said she doesn't mind ruffling the feathers of the music industry if the result is safer festivals.

"If you are a high risk festival, you need to step up as an organiser and work with the government," she said.

The Premier was also fiercely pressed for her stance on strip searches at festivals.

"What the government and the police commissioner need to ensure is that every police officer ensures those procedures are followed," she said.

The Premier used the press conference to also draw a line in the sand against pill testing.
The Premier used the press conference to also draw a line in the sand against pill testing.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller added that he was leading a probe into allegations the police strip searches have been abusive towards children.

"There's certainly been much talk about strip searches this year and I welcome that debate and we are certainly not hiding," Mr Fuller said.

"I'm personally overseeing a review of strip searching and that of young people even though that number from across a state of eight million people is only a few hundred.

"We are owning we need to do this better but at the same time New South Wales is a very safe state."



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