25 March 2015

Federal Government taking strong action on ice

The drug ice, or methylamphetamine, is an insidious, life-ending, family destroying drug which is causing real harm in regional communities across Australia.

Given the severity of the ice epidemic, the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has developed the first unclassified intelligence picture of the threat posed by ice.

The Federal Government released this report today. The report provides a national picture of Australia’s ice market and outlines the role of organised crime in the supply, distribution and use of ice.

The report says:
• Australian illicit drug users pay a premium price for most illicit drugs compared to prices in key foreign markets making our country an attractive marketplace for the manufacture and importation of methylamphetamine;
• more than 60 per cent of Australia’s highest risk serious and organised crime targets are profiting from the misery of ice to the detriment of our communities;
• there are concerning trends including the increased availability and use of methylamphetamine in areas where the drug has not previously been prevalent – particularly regional, rural and disadvantaged communities; and
• serious and organised crime groups are mixing other illicit drugs into methylamphetamine in an attempt to increase addiction levels.

Our government is taking strong law enforcement action to combat this scourge:
• Upon coming to Government we fast-tracked the $74 million National Anti-Gang Squad (NAGS), aimed at disrupting the operations of OMCGs and other criminal gangs who are involved in and profit from the trade of ice and other illicit substances.
• National Anti-Gangs Squads have been rolled out in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia with liaison officers in other jurisdictions.
• The NAGS has, to date, supported State and Territory police operations leading to the arrest of over 400 offenders and laying of over 1000 charges. Many of these operations involved the seizure of large quantities of illicit substances including ice.
• The NAGS is assisted by the ACC’s Australian Gangs Intelligence Coordination Centre opened by the Coalition in 2013.
• We have invested $88 million in the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to boost its ability to screen mail, air and sea cargo.
• The Government has introduced new laws to make it easier to prosecute the criminals involved in importing precursor chemicals used to make illicit drugs like methamphetamine and ice.
• The AFP conducts drug related investigations in Australia and internationally, to reduce the supply of illicit drugs and precursors to Australia.
• The AFP’s Liaison Network, positions liaison officers in key source and transit countries to work with local law enforcement, to stop the movement of ice and other drugs into Australia.
• Over the past two years, the AFP has seized seven tonnes of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of over 4 billion dollars and more than two tonnes of precursor chemicals.
• The Government will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure they have the tools they need to combat this scourge.

In fighting the ice epidemic, the Federal Government will continue to work with other levels of government, law enforcement agencies, health professionals, schools, NGOs, community leaders, parents, colleagues, teachers and peers.

25 March 2015