Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (14:39:23) — My question is for the Minister for Health, represented by Minister Mikakos. On the night of Australia Day nine people were rushed to hospital, several not breathing and critically ill, following a mass overdose at Festival Hall. One is still in hospital. In the 12 days since, no Victorian authority has released public health information that would help identify this bad batch of pills that may still be in circulation. This is even despite the fact that it has been said that they contain the lethal drug paramethoxyamphetamine. Victoria Police have refused to publicly release the information, saying that they cannot comment because it is an ongoing investigation. My question is: will the minister empower the chief health officer to release this information so that further harm from this dangerous batch of pills can be avoided?
Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (14:41:10) — Thank you, Minister. I look forward to that response. Recently in the ACT fentanyl was found in some heroin that was seized by the police. Despite the fact that it was an ongoing investigation, this information was immediately released by the health department to avoid further harm. Bearing in mind that there is a risk of similar overdose events to that which we saw occur on Australia Day, will the minister put permanent protocols in place that would see the secretary of health respond with public health warnings identifying the drug by description or photograph should a similar overdose event occur in the future?