Today Mr Andrew Hastie MP hosted the Minister for Law Enforcement, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, and CEO of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Mr Michael Phelan APM, for the release of the fourth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program.
The report is developed from data gathered at 45 wastewater sites across Australia and reveals that Methylamphetamine consumption in regional WA is the highest in Australia.
For the first time the Program provided the national estimated weight of four illicit drugs sampled, revealing more than 8.3 tonnes of methylamphetamine, 3 tonnes of cocaine, 1.2 tonnes of MDMA and more than 700 kilograms of heroin were consumed between August 2016 and August 2017.
Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor said the report provides law enforcement agencies with a more accurate understanding of the demand for illicit drugs across the states and territories.
“Proportionally, methylamphetamine consumption is generally higher in regional areas than in capital cities, and accurately identifying the worst affected areas ensures we can more effectively target our law enforcement and prevention strategies and measure their impact,” Mr Taylor said.
“We know drug traffickers are increasingly global while maintaining local distribution networks, so we need to be more sophisticated than ever before in our fight against this devastating scourge.
“The increased coordination of our law enforcement agencies, enhanced by the establishment of the Home Affairs portfolio, and our stronger partnerships with international agencies has resulted in record seizures in the past year, disrupting the supply of these harmful drugs to our local communities, families, and children.
Mr Hastie said the report’s results illustrate the dire situation facing the Peel region, and highlight the need for the government’s landmark plan to fight drug addiction in Mandurah.
“The report reveals what locals in the Peel Region already know: regional WA has a serious drug problem,” Mr Hastie said.
“Since my first day in politics the people of Mandurah have told me they want action on drug abuse. Before parliament right now is a program that could make a big difference for our community.”
The Government’s drug testing trial is a welfare and rehabilitation program that identifies job-seekers struggling with drug dependency and directs them to services that will help overcome addiction.
“I’m fighting for the program to pass through parliament. It’s only a trial at this stage, but considering what today’s Wastewater Report reveals, we would be foolish not to do everything we can to fight drug addiction in the Peel Region,” Mr Hastie said.
“The trial has merit and broad local support. The only hurdle left is a group of Labor and crossbench Senators who need to get out of the way so we can continue the fight against drugs.”
Since July 2016 the federal government has committed $300 million through the National Ice Action Strategy to help fight drug addiction throughout Australia. This funding will strengthen education, prevention, treatment, support and community engagement and includes:
- $241.5 million to be invested through 31 Primary Health Networks, which will use their local knowledge to boost the alcohol and other drug treatment sector and reduce demand for ice.
- $13 million to introduce new Medical Benefits Schedule items for Addiction Medicine Specialists to increase the availability of treatment.
- $24.9 million to help families and communities by providing the resources, information and support they need to respond to ice.
- $18.8 million to establish better research, evidence and guidelines on ice, including a new Centre for Clinical Excellence for Emerging Drugs of Concern.