Figures reveal Ice Taskforce was the right call

New figures from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Council revealing ice use tripled between 2009-10 and 2013-14 show the Coalition Government was right to form a taskforce and back its recommendations with a $300 million investment over four years, Minister responsible for drug and alcohol policy Fiona Nash said today.

Minister Nash, along with Justice Minister Michael Keenan, announced a National Ice Taskforce in April 2015.

The anti-ice advertising campaign was renewed soon after. The government’s response to the Taskforce’s final report, released in December 2015, featured a historic $300 million investment into treatment and prevention.

This near doubling of federal treatment funding aims to smash the drug dealer’s model by getting people off ice, reducing demand for their deadly drug. Treatment delivery had been traditionally funded by the states.

“I am proud the Coalition Government produced landmark policy that is not only tough on criminals who supply this drug, but also invests $300 million over four years into treatment to reduce demand and support families and communities being hurt by ice,” Minister Nash said.

“To break the ice dealer’s business model, we have to smash demand.

“I’m proud that our funding will be delivered through local Primary Health Networks. Local knowledge is better than Canberra hypothesising. I’m proud that we reinstated anti-ice advertising, which Stancombe research found had convinced 51 per cent of at-risk youth who saw the ads to avoid using ice.

“Labor refused to renew the Coalition’s anti-ice advertising campaign in 2009. Ice use tripled between mid-2009 and mid-2013.

“Despite daily misgivings by certain Labor figures, there have been no funding cuts to Indigenous Health services. Any claim otherwise is false. Furthermore, our treatment funding will benefit many rural and indigenous communities.

“Our treatment funding boost over four years gives the sector unprecedented certainty and was backed by Mental Health Australia, Suicide Prevention Australia, the Public Health Association of Australia, the Consumers Health forum, and was applauded by the Australian Drug Foundation.”