ACT Labor has a proud history of delivering progressive policy that makes a real difference in people’s lives.
Our nation-leading harm minimisation approach to the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco aims to provide people with access to the right health services and support so they can live healthy and safe lives.
We believe the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco should be treated as a health issue and not a criminal one. That is why we supported the first festival-based pill testing service in Australia and the first fixed-site health and drug checking service. In 2020, we legislated to fully decriminalise small-scale possession and use of marijuana, so that people can access support for problematic use without stigma or fear of being caught in the justice system.
Now, after working with policy experts and service providers, we are decriminalising the possession of small amounts of certain illicit drugs. This is the next step in our commitment to delivering evidence-based and practice informed harm minimisation policy.
From October 2023, people and over who are in possession of small amounts of certain illicit drugs will no longer be exposed to criminal sentencing but instead may face a $100 fine, be issued a caution, or be referred to an illicit drug diversion program. This provides people who use drugs with access to appropriate health services and provides a pathway from the justice system.
An ACT Labor Government will always invest in healthcare to ensure every Canberran has access to the right services and support. Every year, the ACT Government invests more than $26 million in specialist alcohol, tobacco and other drug treatment and support services.
Through the 2022-23 ACT Budget, more than $13 million was allocated for new harm minimisation investments. This includes boosting residential rehabilitation services, more treatments for addiction and establishing a new support service for families and carers of people who use drugs.
Through diversion, appropriate health treatments and reducing the stigma around drug use, we are supporting some of the most vulnerable and at-risk people in our community.
ACT Labor will always deliver progressive policy to make Canberra a more inclusive, healthier place to live.