The NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman is proposing $400 fines or undergoing health treatment for personal drug possession instead of prosecution.
This particular recommendation is part of the ‘Special Commission Of Inquiry’ into the drug ice back in 2020. It gives police the discretion of handing out a fine or treatment instead of sending people into the already busy court system.
Those that believe this is going soft on crime should be aware that people are only eligible for fines twice before facing court. That and Speakman says these fines are actually more often than not, larger than those that do face prosecution for first time drug possession. Lastly, he added “This is hardly radical — we already have an infringement notice scheme in place for drugs at music festivals,” – something that came into place in 2019.
There were also some much heavier laws put in place around then that would have given police the power to shut down festivals even if they had passed all council and state processes to throw a festival. This was subsequently pushed back by the Australian Festival Association which lobbied for other ways to tackle drugs at music festivals.
The two strike recommendation is quite close to what the report said, with it, suggesting users actually get three fines before facing court. Mr Speakman was firm in saying that severe penalties remain in place for supply and trafficking. Other recommendations suggested decriminalising drugs and expanding the already successful safe injecting rooms that offer clean needles, help save lives and offer pathways to rehab – both of which were knocked back by the NSW Government.
We’re not sure exactly when this will be debated or legislation but we’ll do our best to keep you up to date.