Vic Government fails to reach firm decision on safe injecting room

Amanda Lyons

24/10/2017 12:00:00 AM

Labor has refused to reveal its final decision after Legislative Council of the Victorian Parliament yesterday debated MP Fiona Patten’s bill to implement a pilot of a medically-supervised injecting room in Richmond.

Debate continues over implementation of a safe injecting room in Richmond
Debate continues over implementation of a safe injecting room in Richmond

Jaclyn Symes, the Australian Labor Party Member for Northern Victoria, acknowledged the situation of injecting drug use has reached a crisis point in the inner-Melbourne suburb, but said she could not provide support for the bill as the Victorian Government was still considering its response. However, she promised the community of Richmond would not have to wait long for the government’s answer.
Colleen Hartland, the Greens Party Member for Western Metropolitan, argued the government needs to consider the issue in terms of harm-minimisation and that the evidence was overwhelmingly in support of implementing a safe-injecting facility to reduce future overdose deaths.
A trial for a safe-injecting room is either supported or not opposed by all branches of Victorian emergency services. RACGP Victoria is also in favour, having signed a joint statement supporting the issue and making a submission to the Victorian Parliament in May of this year.
The Victorian Government referred the bill to the Legal and Social Issues Committee for an inquiry earlier this year. The resulting report was tabled on 7 September and made no definitive statement on the establishment of a safe injecting room. Symes told the Victorian Parliament that the Victorian Government has six months to respond to the report before making a final decision on the bill.

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