Today the Turnbull Government releases the National Ice Taskforce Final Report and the Commonwealth response.
The Taskforce’s Report is a thorough analysis of Australia’s ice problem, and has provided a clear direction for both the Government’s response and the National Ice Action Strategy.
The response sets out a comprehensive package to reduce the demand for ice and reduce the harm it causes, while continuing efforts to disrupt supply.
Proportionally, Australians use more methamphetamine, including ice, than almost any other country. Evidence suggests that there are well over 200,000 ice users in Australia.
Ice is an extremely powerful stimulant and it is causing significant harm to our community, disproportionate to that caused by other drugs.
The Government has already made significant investment in policing our borders and our streets to combat the supply of ice.
The weight of ice seized at the Australian border grew almost 60 times between 2010 and 2014 and police made record busts and 26,000 arrests for possession or distribution of amphetamine-type stimulants in 2013-14.
The National Ice Taskforce made it clear that we cannot arrest our way out of the ice problem – we must also work to reduce the demand for this drug.
The Government will invest almost $300 million over four years to improve treatment, after care, education, prevention, support and community engagement to tackle ice. The package includes:
$241.5 million to be invested through the 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs), which will use their local knowledge to boost the alcohol and other drug treatment sector and reduce demand for ice.
An additional $13 million to introduce new MBS items for Addiction Medicine Specialists to increase the availability of treatment.
An additional $24.9 million to help families and communities by providing the resources, information and support they need to respond to ice.
An additional $18.8 million to establish better research, evidence and guidelines on ice, including a new Centre for Clinical Excellence for Emerging Drugs of Concern.
The Government understands that local knowledge is best. That is why our local Primary Health Networks will work with communities to determine what form of treatment will be most effective in each local area.
Given the close correlation between mental health and drug abuse, we have closely aligned delivery of drug and alcohol treatment services with the delivery of mental health packages through PHNs.
Ensuring that indigenous-specific treatment services and culturally appropriate mainstream treatment services are available for Indigenous Australians will be a key priority.
The package also includes significant investment in rural and regional areas, where the Taskforce Report indicated service gaps and a misalignment between service priorities and community need.
The measures from the package will form part of the new National Ice Action Strategy, which will be considered by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments at the next COAG meeting.
The Government’s full response is available at www.health.gov.au/ice
For more information about the National Ice Taskforce, including the Final Report, go to www.pmc.gov.au/ice