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O’Brien urges cooperation to tackle ice scourge

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has raised in Parliament the need for State and Federal Governments to work together to tackle the scourge of the drug ice while supporting new laws to ensure criminals do not profit from the proceeds of crime.

Mr O’Brien said the Confiscation and Others Matters Amendment Bill would make it even harder for criminals to use and hide the money they make as a result of crime.

“This Bill makes it clear that if a person purchases a house or any other asset with a loan and then uses proceeds from crime to repay that loan, the house will not considered to be lawfully acquired,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Proceeds of crime come from a wide variety of criminal acts, but most particularly from the trafficking and production of drugs.

“The issue of ice is one that is front and centre of the minds of people in my electorate and my constituents want to be assured that the government is doing something to halt the effect this terrible drug is causing on regional communities.”

Mr O’Brien said the ice scourge facing regional communities, including those in Gippsland, was not something that police could arrest or imprison their way out of.

“It is an issue not just for governments, and it is an issue not just for the police or the courts; it is an issue for the whole community,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said finding a solution to the ice problem in Victoria would involve a holistic approach as well as support from the Commonwealth Government.

“Last week I spoke with my federal colleague, Darren Chester about the importance of the Commonwealth helping to tackle the ice problem. Darren understands this issue very well and we agree on the need to provide the resources to the entire community to tackle this problem,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Additionally, I have again raised the issue of additional drug rehab beds in Gippsland with the Minister for Mental Health. While I understand that Minster said more beds will be funded, there has been no commitment that more beds will be available for Gippslanders who have decided they need to stop their ice use and are seeking treatment.

“I am keen to support anything that tackles the ice scourge, and I am hopeful that the Commonwealth will also come to the party with funding and programs to assist us in that fight.”

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