Tackling the harm caused by ice at a local level

THE Federal Government's $300 million response to the National Ice Taskforce has been welcomed by the member for Page Kevin Hogan, describing it as a comprehensive package that will reduce the demand and the harm caused for the drug called 'Ice'.

The strategy will also continue efforts to disrupt supply, Mr Hogan said.

"Ice is playing havoc in many regional communities, including ours. The Government's response to the Ice Taskforce will allow our community to tackle Ice use head on," he said.

"I am particularly pleased that the Government has picked up one of the points that came out of the Ice Forum I organised in Lismore that 'local problems need local solutions'.

"Our local North Coast Primary Health Network will be funded to boost local alcohol and drug treatment services and help reduce the demand for this very dangerous drug."

Under the $300 million package, $241 million will be invested in treatment services through the country's 31 Primary Health Networks, an additional $13 million to introduce new MBS items for addiction medicine specialists to increase the availability of treatment, another 24.9 million to help families and communities by providing resources, information and support they need to respond to Ice, and an additional $18.8 million to establish better research into Ice including a new Centre for Excellence for Emerging Drug Concern.

The package also includes significant investment in regional and rural areas where the Taskforce Report indicated service gaps and a misalignment between service priorities and community need.

"This is an all-of-government approach that we need to tackle the problem of Ice. We cannot arrest our way out of this - it is much more than simply a law-and-order issue. We must also work to reduce the demand for the drug," Mr Hogan said.

Strong law enforcement is critical to the strategy of countering the growing use of methamphetimine and Ice, the prime minister Malkcolom Turnbull said, when he announced the new strategy.

"But much more needs to be done, and this has been the focue of the task force,"

The resposibility foir tackling the very difficult problem can not n eleft to th ePolice force alone, Mr Turnbull said.

"We can not arrest our way to success. We need to do a lot more" he said.

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