Interfaith Open Letter- A Call To Justice

To: Premier Chris Minns

We write to you in the spirit of unity and a shared commitment to the well-being of our communities and a belief in the inherent dignity and worth of every individual. It is with these principles in mind that we are joining together to call on you to announce a 5-day Parliamentary Drug Summit this year.

As leaders of faith in our communities, we see the impact of drug dependency on individuals and their families. We also see the impact of criminalisation and stigma and the pain this causes.

We share a hope that people who are experiencing drug dependency will be able to access treatment and services when they seek help and that more treatment and support is funded and made available.  

 We share the hope that they will be treated fairly and that our systems and policies will begin to reflect our values of compassion, dignity and respect.

We understand that this issue does not stand alone. It is complex and multifaceted and intersects with other issues, such as mental health, homelessness, domestic violence, crime, unemployment and poverty.  Therefore, we must give this the time and attention it deserves. We recognise that there is a need for change and a 5-day Parliamentary Drug Summit is a good start.

A Drug Summit this year will occur 25 years since the last Drug Summit in 1999.This year’s Summit is a chance to bring together the experts, politicians, community and people with lived experience to go on the journey towards action and outcomes.

This is an issue of paramount importance for our communities and so, by affixing our signatures to this letter, we show solidarity and express our collective commitment to advocating for change.  Together, let us work towards policies that reflect the values of our faiths and contribute to the well-being of all members of our society.

In shared faith and solidarity,

Rev Mata Havea Hiliau, Moderator of the Uniting Church NSW/ACT

Rabbi Mendel Kastel, CEO of Jewish House

Fr Peter Smith, Promoter of the Peace, Justice and Peace Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

Abbas Raza Alvi, President of the Indian Crescent Society of Australia Inc.

The Right Reverend Dr Peter Stuart, Bishop of Newcastle Diocese

Major Kim Haworth, NSW/ACT Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army