Last night’s drug forum at Smithton opened an important conversation about how we all – individuals, families, communities, governments – respond to drug abuse.

There was a strong message from last night that the Circular Head community does not want to be singled out as an epicentre for illicit drug use, which it clearly is not.

What was very evident on the other hand is that this is a close-knit community that passionately cares for its own, and that genuinely wants to help those affected by drugs and deter others from going down the same road.


With Taylah and Sidney after the Smithton meeting. Sidney spoke magnificently at the forum about the needs of family members in the community response to drug abuse.

The Liberal Government is taking the issue of drug use, particularly that of crystal methamphetamine, or ice, very seriously.

As Health Minister, I was encouraged to see so many people attending the forum and constructively sharing their experiences and their thoughts.

Along with my Braddon Liberal colleagues and indeed federal and state parliamentarians from all parties, as well as highly respected members of the community including Western District Police Commander Lochy Avery and former magistrate Don Jones, I attended last night to listen and to respond.

The Government has released an interim report from Alcohol and Drug Services following the review that we ordered into drug use in the North-West, and it does show that there is a gap in service delivery in this region.

A range of options are being considered and we will work across Government – health, police and education – with the community sector and the wider North-West community to assess how we can reduce and then better meet the demand for services.

Following community consultation, no doubt spurred on by last night’s forum, a final report, including recommendations, will be handed to the Government later this month, and we will then respond accordingly.

The Government commends the North-West community for taking ownership of a problem that confronts all parts of Australia.

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