Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Health Brad Hazzard announced today that the NSW Government would establish a Special Commission of Inquiry into ice (crystal methamphetamine).
They were joined at the announcement by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM.
The Special Commission of Inquiry will inquire into, and report on:
- the nature, prevalence and impact of ice in NSW;
- the adequacy of existing measures to tackle ice in NSW; and
- options to strengthen NSW’s response to ice, including law enforcement, education and treatment/rehabilitation responses.
“Ice is a destructive drug that is ruining too many lives across NSW, especially in our regional centres,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We are establishing a powerful Special Commission of Inquiry because we want every option on the table to bolster our existing efforts to combat the evolving threat of this dangerous, illegal drug – and to get help for those who need it.”
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said, “Core business for NSW Police is the prevention, disruption and response to crime.
“Specifically, the more we can do to prevent and disrupt the manufacture, importation and dealing of crystal methamphetamine, the less crime we'll have to respond to right across the board.
“This drug is destroying families and killing people across NSW and my officers are on the front line every day dealing with the damage and violence it causes.”
Subject to the Governor’s approval, Professor Daniel Howard SC will be commissioned to lead the Special Commission of Inquiry.
Professor Howard is a former President of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal and was a NSW Crown Prosecutor for 15 years. He is currently a Conjoint Associate Professor in the UNSW School of Psychiatry, and a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of Wollongong School of Law.
“The NSW Government is determined to lead Australia by getting the best health and justice minds to come together, draw on information available, decide on what other information may be needed, and then map out a forward strategy to attack this scourge on our communities,” said Minister for Health Brad Hazzard.
“Because the use of ice, and ice combined with other drugs, is impacting our cities and regional communities, the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has already allocated $225.3 million this year towards drug and alcohol services.
“This is NSW’s biggest ever annual investment to address these deadly addictions.”
Professor Howard will consult communities and other stakeholders in developing terms of reference for the Special Commission of Inquiry for the Government’s consideration. The Special Commission of Inquiry is expected to draw upon expert advice from drug policy, law enforcement, education and health experts.
The Special Commission of Inquiry into ice is expected to report in 2019.
The establishment of a Special Commission of Inquiry comes on top of the extensive measures implemented by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government to tackle ice, including:
- improving the ability of Police to confiscate the assets of serious criminals, including drug dealers and traffickers;
- tightening controls on pseudoephedrine – one of the main precursors used to make ice; and
- cracking down on drug driving by more than tripling the number of roadside drug tests in 2016-17, increasing to 200,000 roadside drug tests per year by 2020.