Poor management of drug exhibits by the NSW Police Force has seen officers exposed to dangerous chemicals, resulting in serious injuries in a number of cases. Today we supported reforms to police drug-handling practices in order to address this.
Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) [8.00 p.m.]: On behalf of The Greens I express support for the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Amendment (Drug Exhibits) Bill 2016. We support this sensible reform to drug-handling practices by police and recognise that in the past poor management of drug exhibits by the NSW Police Force has seen officers exposed to dangerous chemicals, resulting in serious injuries in a number of cases. As we know and as the Attorney General has noted, the Auditor-General's report in 2013 into the management of drug exhibits by the NSW Police Force identified concerns regarding the disposal of drugs in timber mills, crematoria and industrial furnaces rather than through certified disposal authorities. There were clear breaches involving risks and harm to officers involved.
The Greens NSW police spokesperson, David Shoebridge, raised these issues back in July 2013 and we are pleased that the Government is now acting by bringing forward these amendments. We acknowledge that the Attorney General said in her second reading speech that the bill contains safeguards for the rights of the accused and will promote community confidence in the justice system. While we are supportive of the bill, we will continue consultation and discussion with the Government and key stakeholders to ensure that safeguards and protections remain in place for accused. We will also monitor the bill to ensure that it gives accused the ability to go to the Local Court to have drugs reweighed and to obtain an independent analysis. The Greens will seek to ensure that there are no barriers to accessing that important safeguard. I note that The Greens have been calling for this measure and therefore I am happy to support the amendments. It is great to have support from all sides of the Chamber for sensible reform that works in the best interests of those in the NSW Police Force and in the community.