The Greens' Lismore candidate Sue Higginson and MP Cate Faehrmann with supporters of their party's drug reform plans.
The Greens' Lismore candidate Sue Higginson and MP Cate Faehrmann with supporters of their party's drug reform plans. Liana Turner

Calls for end to roadside drug testing

REFORM to drug testing of motorists, harm minimisation at festivals and a Drug Court in Lismore are among harm promises the NSW Greens have announced.

NSW Greens MP and drug reform spokesperson Cate Faehrmann joined Ballina MP Tamara Smith and Lismore candidate Sue Higginson for the announcement in Mullumbimby yesterday.

Ms Smith said a Greens government would dedicate $100,000 each year to support breathalysing and "chill out zones" at festivals and events, including on the Far North Coast.

She said this plan would ideally be a "precursor to pill testing at festivals".

"What we've seen overseas is that having those (initiatives in place)... really makes such an improvement on safety for young people," Ms Smith said.

The party also wants to see current roadside drug testing laws repealed to make way for impairment-based tests.

Current drug-driving laws in NSW make it unlawful for an illicit drug to be present in your system, even in trace amounts.

"We want to repeal the law so it actually captures people who are genuinely affected by drugs," Ms Smith said.

Ms Higginson said the current roadside drug testing regime was costing taxpayers "enormous amounts of money" without affecting the issue at hand: that of road safety.

"We have got examples of where impairment testing is working in other parts of the world," she said.

"We saw a very successful parliamentary inquiry in Victoria where medical professionals and experts were calling for an impairment test."

She also said a Drug Court was warranted in Lismore.

"Drug Courts that have been trialled around NSW have been incredibly successful at helping people recover, keep their life on track and get out of the criminal justice system," Ms Higginson said.

"We need a Drug Court in Lismore so we can help people get better and get them out of the criminal justice system."



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