speaking on illicit drug treatment cuts

This is an important issue and it deserves to be treated seriously, but I am very disappointed at the manner in which this motion has been brought before this chamber. 


We are being asked to note the contents and recommendations of a report that this government has not even provided to the community or the parliament. For this reason, I will be moving an amendment. I move:

That all words in paragraph (3) be replaced with "notes that it has been 511 days since the Government received the Review of Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Treatment Services Sector Report and calls on the Minister to immediately release this report and the report of the National Ice Taskforce."

I would have thought that if the member were seriously concerned about the issues in her electorate and the issues right around the country then as a part of her contribution in this debate today that report, which she asks us to endorse, would have been tabled so that it was available for us to talk in an informed manner about its contents. If it had been any other member then I would have been surprised, but noting the spectacular debut of this member into the serious debate around methamphetamine use I am not surprised. This is the member who went on national television and talked about people eating their eyeballs—a spectacular story. The only problem with it is that it was not true. We need a serious contribution to this debate, not the sort of guff that we are getting at the moment.

Let us talk about some serious issues. Let us talk about the $800 million worth of cuts to funding that this member's own government has visited upon the treatment sector and the delays in funding which mean services in her own electorate have had to cut staff.

Dr Stone: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order, I am just interested in the process here. The member, in standing up, said he wished to move an amendment to this private member's motion. I do not believe that is in the spirit of what happens in this chamber. This is a chamber of agreed outcomes.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Price ): There is no point of order. He is entitled to move an amendment to the motion.

Dr Stone: Is he?


Mr STEPHEN JONES: This goes to a serious issue, because for the last year members on this side of the House have been calling on the government to release the report of the review of drug treatment services, and since it was provided to the government we have been calling on members opposite to table the report of the National Ice Taskforce so that we can have a proper debate. It is important because we know that at the very time the government was talking about the problems associated with methamphetamine use, concerns that we share, we were seeing $800 million worth of cuts from the flexible funds, which are the funds that are funding those services. We are seeing delays in funding which mean services in the member's own electorate and in mine are having to cut staff. If you are serious about dealing with this drug epidemic, as the member asked us to get serious and concerned about, then of course we would not be having the continual delay in releasing the report and we would not be seeing the services that are at the very coalface of dealing with this problem having to cut staff, and that goes to the nub of the issue.

I have actually visited the Kamira service, an excellent service in the member's own electorate which provides a unique rehabilitation service to women—not duplicated anywhere else throughout New South Wales. They have 22 beds available. They can only service 11 of those beds and, on almost a weekly basis, they are having 30 people ring up and they are having to turn them away because they do not have the funds available to them to have those additional beds open. This is a serious issue; it deserves a serious response, not stunts. If the member asks us to note the contents of a report and the recommendations of a report, the very least that she should do is to furnish parliament with a copy of that report. We do not need these sorts of stunts; we need a serious contribution to this debate furnished with the information and furnished with the results of Commissioner Ken Lay's report. We welcome some of the comments that have been made by Commissioner Lay that this is not a problem that we can arrest our way out of. Against that backdrop, we should be funding those services properly, not visiting upon them the sorts of cuts that those members opposite are supporting. I table the amendment.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Do we have a seconder for the amendment to the motion?

Ms Chesters: I second the amendment.