The ACT Government has knocked back a proposal to allow pill-testing at the Canberra leg of the Groovin The Moo festival.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr defended the Government’s decision, telling ABC Radio the proposal had not been “well enough formed”, while ANU senior clinical lecturer Dr David Caldicott — who was involved in the proposal — has counted this, saying the proposal was in fact, “so minutely detailed that the minister’s office had the opportunity to ask ‘what uniforms would those conducting the pill testing be wearing?’
“If there were issues they wanted to discuss they would quite easily have raised them”, he added.
“Every question that has been asked of us as a research group has been answered so unless they were keeping questions in reserve I suspect there are no questions that remain unanswered.”
Barr remains unmoved, although he acknowledges the need for harm reduction measures.
“I need to be clear, the government is never going to endorse the taking of illegal drugs but we also have responsibilities around harm minimisation,” Barr told ABC Radio.
“I consider this a health issue, not a law and order issue, but I do need to be clear that the government will not be endorsing the taking of illegal substances but we do recognise people do that and as much as we can provide support for other organisations.
“This needs to be an evidence-based, public health decision, not a Facebook petition.”
ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury also slammed the Government’s decision, telling Fairfax, “we’ve got a group of health experts, with the right equipment, ready to provide a service free of charge to government. We cannot afford to pass up these kinds of opportunities to roll out proven evidence-based harm minimisation measures.”