Launch of the Illicit Drug Data Report
The Australian Crime Commission CEO John Lawler; the Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus ; Odyssey House Victoria CEO Dr Stefan Gruenert and the Australian National Council on Drugs Chairman Dr John Herron, whose here of course today as well.
Distinguished guests, law enforcement agencies and ladies and gentlemen.
We’re here today to launch the ACC’s latest Illicit Drug Data Report - Australia’s principal source of information on the domestic illicit drug market.
This report provides the most comprehensive picture available of Australia’s drug environment collated from partner agency’s data including law enforcement, forensic laboratories and Commonwealth agencies.
In 2008–09 Australian law enforcement seized more than 13 tonne of illicit drugs and made almost 84 000 related arrests.
There were 449 detections of clandestine laboratories in this financial year that was reported on – two-thirds of which, quite disturbingly, are in residential areas.
This report provides a lot of cold hard facts about drugs in Australia – but within those figures is a picture of the unforgiving consequences of drug use.
The cost of the illicit drug trade goes well beyond numbers on a page. Every day illicit drugs are destroying lives and tearing families apart.
Drug use rarely occurs in isolation — it affects children, parents, brothers, sisters, extended families, friends and work colleagues.
Individuals pay the price of drug use with their health, and all Australians pay the immense social and economic costs.
It’s appropriate that we’re here at Odyssey House to launch the Illicit Drug Data Report. This is a place where people who have fallen victim to illicit drugs come to put their lives back together.
The information contained in this report is as much about the people who are recovering from drug abuse – as it is about law enforcement.
This report will help us tackle drugs on the streets and at the organised crime level – and stop the flow of drugs to Australians.
We want to do all we can to stop drugs from taking control of the lives of our citizens.
It’s a long road to recovery and I pay tribute to the difficult but rewarding work that is done by those working here, and I wish those who are trying to start afresh the best of luck.
This report provides a comprehensive picture of what’s happening on the ground to help law enforcers target their activities in the fight against drugs.
Once we know the what, when, where and how of the illicit drug environment, we can devise strategies to combat this highly destructive industry and better protect our community.
The Australian Crime Commission is part of the collaborative approach to addressing serious and organised crime, including its main market - illicit drugs.
An effective response to organised crime begins with accurate, timely, relevant and detailed intelligence.
The ACC plays a key role in developing a picture of serious and organised crime in Australia by delivering intelligence that its partners can act on to disrupt organised crime threats.
Everything the ACC does is in partnership with federal, state and territory agencies. And in line with that approach, the Illicit Drug Data Report we’re launching today is drawn from law enforcement, forensic laboratories and government agencies across the country.
The information that the ACC gathers on the illicit drug environment informs its partners and also keeps academics, international organisations and the public well informed.
The report, I’m happy to say, is easy-to-read and provides those working to address the effects of illegal drug use with valuable insight into our national illicit drug environment.
I’d like to congratulate the ACC and all the agencies that contributed to this year’s report. It’s a big task to create this snapshot but it’s well worth the effort.
This report certainly isn’t the end point – it’s a tool. It’s a tool in the fight against drugs. The report is complemented by other measures we’re taking to tackle illegal drugs and organised crime.
The Australian Illicit Drug Data Centre, which I launched in February this year, will expand forensic drug intelligence across Australia’s jurisdictions by conducting illegal drug profiling to identify a drug’s source and manufacture.
We also have a biennial Organised Crime Threat Assessment and Response Plan, as part of our Organised Crime Strategic Framework launched earlier this year by the Attorney-General and I.
Coupled with recent legislative reforms, the Rudd Government is working hard to investigate, prosecute and prevent organised crime in Australia.
As part of our $38.5 million organised crime budget announcements, the Rudd Government last month released details of a Criminal Intelligence Fusion Centre and capability - to be located within the ACC - that will improve intelligence sharing and make the best use of intelligence holdings across Government.
The Rudd Government will invest $14.5 million over four years in this innovative capability to allow faster, more accurate and effective exchange of intelligence amongst agencies.
I encourage you all to read the report and make the most of the valuable information it contains but also to keep in mind what this is all about - protecting people from drugs.
The effects are devastating and long lasting for individuals, families and communities.
So can I thank everyone who has worked on this report. I think it is a magnificent effort. It will provide a great tool for our law enforcement and other agencies to tackle organised crime and indeed to tackle the scourge on the streets which is illicit drugs.
Tuesday, 8th June 2010