Thursday, 3 December 2015
Robertson Electorate: Illicit Drugs
I rise today to update the House on the vital and important work of the Robertson Tackling Drugs and Alcohol Committee. Over the past several months the committee has met several times and discussed a number of ways to help our community tackle the challenge of illicit drugs. A number of community led strategies have been raised by members of the committee. Today I am pleased to advise the House that, arising from these discussions, the Brisbane Water Liquor Accord has now extended its successful 'barred from one, barred from all' program to also target illicit drugs and violence around licensed premises. This means that if you are barred from one venue, you are barred from all venues in our local region.
Committee member Zane Tredway, the licensee of the Central Coast Hotel and secretary of the Brisbane Water Liquor Accord was the key driver of our initial discussions on this scheme, which aims to curb dangerous and antisocial behaviour. I am advised that the accord has already resulted in venues being safer for patrons, staff and the community alike, so extending it to drugs and violence was voted on and passed unanimously by members of the liquor accord. I congratulate Zane for his work and important advocacy on this issue. To ensure that the community is aware of this initiative, new artwork is on clear display now in pubs and clubs in my electorate, just in time for summer holidays. I spoke with Zane, who said that this fantastic result demonstrates the hard work and diligence displayed by those involved in the Tackling Drugs and Alcohol Committee in Robertson. I also commend Daniel Brian, the president of the liquor accord, for his work in this area. There is a genuine confidence around the committee that these steps will complement and support the united front presented by the community and police towards antisocial behaviour and illicit drug activities on the Central Coast.
Committee member and Brisbane Water Local Area Command Superintendent Danny Sullivan told me he is already seeing a very positive response to these measures in our community. The new poster, for instance, has been viewed by around 3,000 people online already, and Superintendent Sullivan said it was a really clear way of helping to make venues safer by offering a real incentive to modify behaviour.
Another initiative that the committee is looking at is the Party Safe program, which we would like to be able to support and extend in some ways. This program will target 15- to 18-year-olds and focus on alcohol, drugs and mental health. It already does a great job in my electorate. It is called 'building a better tomorrow', and the program involves a series of community forums which we will be working on collaboratively together and looking at rolling out next year. These forums will help reach parents and students and will encourage access to support groups, hotlines, online support and drop-in centres.
The committee is also keen to develop closer engagement with local schools across my electorate through specific teacher development days with principals, deputy principals, head teachers and teachers. I really want to thank Paul Gilmore, principal of the Brisbane Water Secondary College, for his initiative and vision to help enable this to happen. Paul told me that enabling teacher awareness on the Central Coast will help unlock greater student awareness about very important issues relating to drugs and alcohol. Fiona Morrison from the Australian Drug Foundation, who joined us at our last meeting, also underlined the urgent need for families to receive support. Fiona said this work will be vital to reduce usage and harm and that the community has an important role to play in tackling drugs and alcohol in the community. Julie Clark, the project officer of Family Drug Support and fellow committee member, said families can be a vital force for positive change in communities when they are able to cope with the reality of their situation and then survive the journey.
These initiatives have all arisen as a result of a brief meeting with Ettalong Diggers CEO, Bill Jackson, on the peninsula. He said to me one day, 'What can we do to help? There must be more that we can do to help our community tackle this very important matter of drugs and the use of drugs.' It was around ice, but of course it then extended to other drugs as well. As a result of his desire to help, we now have very strong representation from community leaders and experts all working together.
I really want to commend the committee members I have mentioned so far and also Russell Cooper from the Gosford RSL; John Green, Director of the Australian Hotels Association; Ben Bradley from Davistown RSL Club; Tim McGavin from Ettalong Bowling Club; Carly Tredway from the Party Safe program; Andrew Tuck, CEO of Coast Community Connections; Tina Davies, the New South Wales government representative and Central Coast regional liaison officer from the Department of Premier and Cabinet; Steve Childs, the manager of the drugs and alcohol service of the Central Coast Local Health District; and Matt Hanrahan, the CEO of the local health district. Combined with the outstanding initiatives of the federal government, including the National Ice Taskforce, whose report I understand will be unveiled shortly, this has been a tremendous community effort of which the Central Coast can be rightly proud.