Gippsland South The Nationals ice

O'Brien raises "ice" with Federal Minister

The Nationals candidate for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien says the State Government needs to support a nation-wide drive to reduce the impact of methamphetamines, particularly ice, in regional communities.

Mr O’Brien last week participated in a teleconference with Federal Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash and Gippsland MP Darren Chester to express his concerns about the extent of the ice problem in towns across Gippsland, including Sale. He welcomed the forum held in Sale last night (Monday) which was initiated by the previous Coalition Government, and supported a broad approach focused on raising awareness of the drug, increased police activity targeting traffickers and improved access to rehabilitation services.

“As I travel across the region and meet with people of all ages, it is alarming to hear about the impact that ice is having on young people in our community, particularly Sale and district,” Mr O’Brien said.

“From my discussions with the Minister, I understand the Federal Government is taking steps to make ice the focus of the work being undertaken by the national drugs advisory body and it will require state and territory governments to support the nation-wide effort.

“If I’m elected in the Gippsland South by-election on March 14, I will be working in partnership with the community and all levels of government to increase the level of resources directed at reducing the problem.

“Ice is linked to a wide range of criminal activity and family violence in Gippsland and there appears to be a strong link between ice, poor health and employment for many people. We need to get on top of the problem as soon as possible.”

Mr Chester said the ice issue required a dedicated community effort to reduce harm and punish offenders.

“It is a health concern as much as a law and order issue, so it will require all levels of government to work together to develop local solutions within a national approach,” Mr Chester said.

“Experienced members of the legal fraternity tell me it’s the worst drug they’ve seen in terms of the impact on users and their extended families. It is routinely linked to horrific violence and other criminal activity and we need to get on top of the problem before it’s too late.”

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