Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) — I too would like to speak to this report, and I would very much like to thank the secretariat staff and my committee colleagues for the work that they undertook on this report. We received some very emotional submissions. The evidence was overwhelming and compelling: a trial of a medically supervised injecting centre can significantly address the escalating issues facing North Richmond. Residents are having to resuscitate people in the street, traders are dealing with an open drug market on their doorstep and emergency services are called out to hundreds of overdoses.
The people who are dying leave grieving families and children without parents. The death toll is increasing, and we have an opportunity to address it. A supervised injecting centre is not a silver bullet, but it will save lives, it will reduce open drug use on the streets, it will reduce the number of discarded needles on the streets, it will improve the amenity of the area and it will provide a pathway to recovery for some of the most isolated members of our community, many of whom suffer significant mental and other health issues. It will not increase drug use, and it will not reduce police efforts to arrest drug traffickers. It will free up their time to do this.
I think it would be somewhat arrogant of this Parliament to ignore the experts that we heard from and ignore not one but three coronial inquests. For me, I cannot ignore the residents who are traumatised by regular ambulance sirens and people dying in their streets in front of their children. I cannot ignore the medical experts, and especially I cannot ignore the parents, sisters and children who have lost their loved ones. I hope this report helps the Parliament find the merit in and the urgency for a trial of a medically supervised injecting centre. We can continue talking about this, but as the mural in North Richmond says, ‘You talk we die’.