Steve Irons MP Federal Member for Swan

Coalition continues to work to tackle ‘ice’ scourge

8 June 2015

Coalition continues to work to tackle ‘ice’ scourgeTackling the ice (crystal methamphetamine) scourge that is harming so many communities is a top priority for the Coalition Government, according to Federal Member for Swan Steve Irons.

“On 8 April 2015 the Prime Minister announced the establishment of a National Ice Taskforce to address this growing problem, with the reported use of ice by methamphetamine users more than doubling from 22% in 2010 to 50% in 2013,”Mr Irons said.

“The Taskforce is seeking feedback from the community and expert groups to ensure that all Australians affected by ice have the opportunity to provide input. It is ruining individuals, destroying families, and harming communities.”

Mr Irons said he co-hosted a roundtable meeting with the Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and community and expert groups from across Swan last Friday, including business and civic leaders, law enforcement officers, health workers, drug and alcohol workers, social welfare organisations, Indigenous support groups and local government representatives to ensure they have the opportunity to express their concerns about how ice is impacting Swan.

“The focus of the roundtable meeting was to seek feedback about the impact of ice on the Swan community, where efforts should be concentrated to combat its use and different strategies which could be implemented,” Mr Irons said.

“It is clear that the prevalence of ice is a growing concern, with many stakeholders at the roundtable highlighting that both the users and sellers of ice are not your typical drug users.”

As one local police officer said: “We are finding mums and dads cooking meth because it’s profitable.”

Another local police officer said: About 8% of people local police come into contact with are on drugs such as amphetamines and are often aggressive and unpredictable. Before we can take these people to lockup we have to take them to hospital. The residual impact is a loss of resources because police officers are taken off the streets.

A representative from St John Ambulance also said paramedics were dealing with double the amount of cases involving ice than two years ago.

Mr Irons said there was a common theme among stakeholders about how federal, state and territory governments can focus their efforts.

“Stakeholders agreed that to combat the prevalence of ice, more work needs to be done to stop the supply, a greater focus needs to be placed on education and early prevention, particularly in primary schools, and a more collaborative approach needs to be implemented between the different sectors such as police, support services, hospitals and the community,” Mr Irons said.

“I will be reporting feedback from today’s discussion to the Australian Government’s National Ice Taskforce to ensure that the concerns of my community can contribute to the overall work of the Taskforce in examining all existing efforts to address ice and identify ways to take a comprehensive and coordinated approach to education, health and law enforcement.”

The Taskforce is being chaired by former Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police Ken Lay APM, and comprises Professor Richard Murray, Dean of the College of Medicine and Dentistry at James Cook University and former President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine; and Dr Sally McCarthy, emergency physician and former President of the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine

The Taskforce is expected to provide an interim report to the Prime Minister by the middle of the year, with a National Ice Action Strategy to be developed with states and territories by the end of 2015.

People interested in submitting to the Taskforce can visit http://www.dpmc.gov.au/taskforces/national-ice-taskforce

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