Contact Melissa

Geraldton:          Broome:  
(08) 9964 2195    (08) 9192 7216

Canberra:          Merredin: 
(02) 6277 7840  (08) 9041 1749

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Geraldton Ice Summit

I rise to speak on an insidious drug that is tearing families apart not only in our cities but also in our rural, regional and remote towns and communities. Of course, the drug I speak of is ice, and I believe it is the most destructive drug on the illicit market. Good, decent families in my electorate of Durack are being torn apart by the physical, mental and behavioural effects this drug has on a member of their family—sometimes a mother, sometimes a father and sometimes a child, but, sadly, always a loved member of someone's family. Tragically, these families are being held together not with government intervention but with love—good old fashioned love for a family member—although I fear love alone is not going to save us from the hell of ice.

Former Prime Minister Abbott announced, in April this year, the establishment of a National Ice Taskforce to develop a National Ice Action Strategy.

The focus of the task force is to examine the impact of ice on individuals and communities; examine gaps in our knowledge of ice; and consider the effects of all levels of government in Australia to address the problems associated with ice. Last month, the government announced that we would put aside $1 million to roll out the 'dob in a dealer' campaign to combat the ice scourge.  This is a good start. This is one of the government's efforts to address this issue not only in Durack but throughout Australia.

In June this year I hosted an ice summit in Geraldton. Present were about 50 front-line professionals from health, legal and the police and other service providers, as was the Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash. Additionally, about a 100 community members attended the event. The raw and emotive stories from these community members made this summit an incredibly heartbreaking occasion. Fathers, mothers, aunts and, sadly, grandparents, sisters and friends, one by one publicly shared their very private stories. These brave souls stood before mostly strangers and described their grief and individual harrowing stories. They were all different stories but they all had one common thread—the havoc that ice had caused in their lives and their families. Sadly, most of their stories all came with a deep sense of shame that ice had been stronger than their family ties.

It is our responsibility as elected representatives to do all we can to combat this evil drug. We know we simply cannot arrest our way out of the ice epidemic. What we need is education. We need awareness. We need the parents to know what a child looks like when they have taken ice. We also need the right level of health and community support. Our government is playing its part in that, but I have no doubt we can do more.

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