Uniting NSW.ACT have this morning responded to he NSW Government’s announcement on proposed drug reform in the state.
“The NSW Government has today announced its intention to extend the existing infringement notice system that current applies to MDMA at music festivals to apply to all drugs and all places,” Uniting NSW.ACT’s General Manager of Advocacy & External Relations Emma Maiden said.
“This is a good step forward, but the proposed imposition of a large $400 fine is clearly most damaging to those who can least afford it.
“I think we can all agree that reforming our unfair drug laws is long overdue and incredibly important.
“Any positive change to the way we approach drug use and dependency in Australia is always welcome – we know that the system still grossly impacts the vulnerable and further changes must be explored and adopted,” Emma said.
“The proposed reform plan for these fines to be discharged by being referred for a health intervention is a recognition of what we have long been saying.
“Drug use and dependency is health issue and should be treated as such.”
Uniting NSW.ACT Moderator, Rev Faaimata (Mata) Havea Hiliau said:
“The Uniting Church welcomes the announcement by the Government. Our responses to people who use drugs should always be focused on health, safety and wellbeing.
“This is a modest reform that shows the Government is listening to the experts and implementing a health-based response to drug use.
“The Uniting Church supports reform of our drug laws because we value every human life equally. Close to our heart is that people be treated with dignity and respect, including people who use drugs.
“We need to have a more honest, open and ongoing conversation about alcohol and other drugs. Our current laws perpetuate stigma and create harm by driving people away from seeking and finding the support they need,” she said.
“We welcome the focus on this important issue and note that what we have had announced today mirrors the approach of the previous Government and cements a bipartisan approach to drug laws.
Uniting has long been at the front of advocacy efforts to reform unfair drugs policy that impacts the disadvantaged disproportionally.
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