Police powers set to get boost to deal with ice crisis
POLICE powers to seize drug dealers' cash and assets are in line for a boost as politicians grapple with a nationwide upsurge in ice addiction.
The National Ice Taskforce presented its interim report to the Council of Australian Governments meeting on Thursday, after spending two months consulting stakeholders around the country.
Researchers have found more Australians use ice and methamphetamine than any other nationality - a title the government is eager to let go.
The taskforce recommended a national co-operative strategy for seizing money and assets from drug dealers, rather than the current state-by-state system.
It also proposed increasing local communities' ability to respond to ice addiction through stronger support for grass-level intervention and treatment services.
Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the Northern Rivers needed the support as much as anywhere else in the country.
"It is hard to say whether local ice use is lower or higher than the rest of the state, as experts said at the ice forum I organised in Lismore," he said.
"However, what they said was clear, was that the impact of ice on our community is great.
"The measures I would like to see introduced here include targeting primary intervention through education and improve the tools for frontline workers."
Mr Hogan said he was talking with local organisations including frontline health, police and welfare workers, as well as current and former addicts, so they could "tailor programs to the specific needs of our community".
The taskforce received more than 1300 submissions to the inquiry.
It will develop a report and final recommendations for COAG's consideration before the end of the year.
ICE TASKFORCE RECOMMENDATIONS
- focus law enforcement actions
- target primary prevention
- improve access to early intervention, treatment and support services
- support local communities to respond
- improve tools for frontline workers
- improve and consolidate research and data