Confiscated money from crime to be reinvested into treatment
THE Palaszczuk Government will investigate redirecting confiscated proceeds of crime and unexplained wealth funds into rehabilitation and treatment to meet the growing problem linked to the ice scourge.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told the ALP State Conference in Brisbane today the illicit methamphetamine market in Queensland posed a growing threat to Queenslanders in both the metropolitan and rural and regional areas.
"The growing prevalence of the drug means we cannot sit back and do nothing - we must act now to tackle the problem and its causes," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"My Government has zero tolerance for organised crime.
"I am determined we will look at every element of organised crime, not just one small section of it.
"That's why my government will consider redirecting the proceeds of organised crime, and other funds under unexplained wealth and forfeiture, to fund new treatment and rehab initiatives to meet the growing challenges of the ice problem.
'I think most Queenslanders would be surprised to learn that actual net forfeitures over the last five years from proceeds of crime in Queensland amounted to $55.78 million."
Ms Palaszczuk said the government had already established the Commission of Inquiry into organised crime to ascertain its extent and nature and the impacts on the economy and society in general.
"However experts in the field have already warned we can't arrest and charge our way out of the ice problem.
"With this upmost in mind, I am also calling for the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the other state and territory leaders to ensure more funds are allocated for detox and treatment programs.
"My Government will show a lead.
"The National Ice Taskforce should urgently consider redirecting confiscated funds at national and state levels as a cost effective way of providing medical and rehabilitation treatment for illicit drug users.
"We must identify ways to effectively provide access to treatment in rural, regional and remote areas."
Ms Palaszczuk said the State Government would explore all options to challenge the growing ice menace.
"It is a scourge that pits sibling against sibling - and tears families apart.
"Of course, building and operating stand-alone medical inpatient detox facilities in every location state wide that may need them is not feasible or affordable.
"My Government is studying more flexible options including home-based and community out-client facilities as new ways to ensure timely support and detox services can be provided across the state.
"We have already begun discussions with the Gold Coast and South West Health and Hospital Services on how we can deliver innovative solutions to this problem, and I'd expect we'll have more conversations with more regions in the coming months."