Hobart City Council has passed a motion to provide in-principal support for pill testing at music festivals and other major events in the municipality. The vote was split six for and three against.
The City Council vote follows a unanimous vote in favour of the motion from the Culture, Events and Community Committee earlier this month.
Councillor Holly Ewin, who put forward the motion at Monday’s council meeting, spoke to the ABC this morning about what this motion means in practice. She says it’s now about continuing the conversation.
“So whether we’ve got personal and professional connections with other people, even just in the community, let alone other levels of government and just keeping on talking about it and saying this is good evidence-based policy and these are the decisions we should be making for minimising harm in our community.”
An amendment to the motion was that Hobart would not have to contribute financially towards the tests.
Councillor Ewin says that the next step is to get the Tasmanian State Government on board, with the motion calling upon the State Government to “commence the necessary action to facilitate” a pill testing trial, after the findings from the NSW coronial inquest into drug-related deaths at music festivals are released.
The council also plans to do some “myth-busting” so residents get a better perspective on how pill testing works.
The Tasmanian State Government are currently opposed to pill testing, even though the peak body for the nation’s doctors, the Australian Medical Association, has backed pill testing trials in the wake of the recent festival deaths.
According to a report by The Examiner, a Government spokesperson reaffirmed the Government’s anti-pill testing stance yesterday.
“We do not support pill testing. There is no safe use of any illicit drug and our concern is that a testing service indicating an illegal drug is free of certain contaminants sends a mixed and risky message.”
For the second year in a row, a pill testing trial was held at Canberra’s Groovin’ the Moo music festival this year. It found that seven of the samples submitted contained deadly substances. The trial was hailed as a success.
We covered NSW’s music festival crisis earlier this year. You can also read our recent submission to the NSW State Inquiry Into Music Festival Licensing Regulations by heading here.