Taskforce gives Northern Rivers say in national ice strategy

JUST days after police announced the seizure of 10 tonnes of the chemical used to make the drug ice, the National Ice Taskforce will be in Lismore.

The Australian Crime Commission Illicit Drug Data Report released yesterday showed 27.3 tonnes of illicit drugs were seized by police in Australia over the past year.

More than one third of these drugs were the chemical benzaldehyde, used to make methylamphetamine, or ice.

The report said the seizure stopped 45 million deals of ice, valued at $3.8 billion, hitting the streets.

>> The Lismore forum sitting will be held at the Lismore Workers Club from 10.30am. To register email kevin.hogan.mp@aph.gov.au or call 6621 4044.

Led by former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Ken Lay, the taskforce held its first sitting on Thursday in the South Australian regional city of Mount Gambier.

The taskforce was set up by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Lay will be assisted by professor Richard Murray and Dr Sally McCarthy in developing a National Ice Action Strategy to tackle the explosion in use of ice.

The taskforce will work with government agencies, expert groups and the public to examine existing efforts to address ice use, and to identify opportunities to improve education, health, law enforcement and other policies to combat the impact of the drug in Australia.

Page MP Kevin Hogan said the panel would hear from police, health professionals and community groups in Lismore on Tuesday.

"I've been getting a lot of good suggestions from nurses, police (and) welfare agencies about some of the solutions, some of the education programs, some of the things that we need to do," he said.

"There are only, as I understand, three of these consultations happening across the state so I'm really excited that our community and that our frontline services will have input.

"We have invited specific people who were engaged with the symposium we had in the community last week, but it is open to the public.

"You do have to register ... we have to know that you're coming, but it is open to any member of the community who may feel that they have something to add or want to listen to some of the solutions and the issues that we have."