Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Ice action called for

Professionals who gave evidence to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into methamphetamine use have expressed hope all of the recommendations will be implemented.

DARREN LINTON September 5, 2014 5:34am

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has indicated it will take time to announce practical measures arising from the 900-page report tabled in parliament on Wednesday.

Increased drug testing and more drug dogs, including some based in regional areas, was the initial response along with $100000 to bolster research.

The lack of any research in regional Victoria was one of the key gaps in data identified in the Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee report.

Primary Care Connect chief executive Hamish Fletcher said the report rightly pointed to a wholistic approach to dealing with the impact of methamphetamine and particularly ice.

‘‘Hopefully, the report is adopted and recommendations can flow out through the treatment response,’’ he said.

Mr Fletcher said while the report identified the gaps in regional communities’ access to treatment services and beds, another issue for treatment organisations was developing appropriate responses.

‘‘As a community we’re still trying to come to grips with the far-reaching effects and the best way to provide treatment,’’ he said.

Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre managing lawyer Kaz Gurney said it was notable the committee recognised the value of justice reinvestment, which involved curbing spending on corrections and reinvesting savings in strategies to decrease crime and strengthen neighbourhoods.

‘‘It is extremely pleasing and reassuring to see they have also picked up our submissions in regard to therapeutic justice in our courts,’’ she said.

‘‘It will take quite a while to achieve as it will take a lot of resources.’’

Yesterday, Victorian Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge extended the government’s response, announcing a new campaign to combat young people using ice.

The ‘‘What are you doing on ice?’’ campaign will highlights ice as an addictive and dangerous drug that can destroy lives.

A re-elected Coalition Government would also invest $2.7million to work with communities to drive real solutions to problems and a further $2 million would be available through a new Ice Prevention Grants program.

Victorian Crime Prevention Minister Edward O’Donohue said the grants would be designed to help local communities implement their own ideas in the fight against ice.

‘‘Grants of up to $100000 will be offered to community organisations, and councils partnering with community organisations, to facilitate the implementation of local solutions to the ice problem,’’ Mr O’Donohue said.

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