In response to an announcement from the NSW Police that they will confiscate festival tickets from anyone searched after a dog indicates, even if no drugs are found, Jenny asked the Police Minister under what law they could do this.
Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) (15:16): My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Police. Given that drug sniffer dogs get it wrong 75 per cent of the time, what powers is the NSW Police Force relying on to confiscate tickets from innocent festival-goers who are searched and on whom no drugs are found?
Mr TROY GRANT (Dubbo—Minister for Police, and Minister for Emergency Services) (15:16): As members in this House are well aware, far too many deaths are occurring at dance parties and music festivals across this country from attendees consuming illicit drugs. Each of these tragic deaths, often of young adults, highlights the risks posed by these substances. No-one can ever be certain what they are taking or how it might affect them. Government authorities, including the NSW Police Force, continue to work with event organisers to ensure that dance parties and music festivals are as safe as possible. Police currently use drug detection dogs to great effect at such events as a means of deterring users, catching suppliers and detecting drugs hidden around the vent location. These are all strong reasons for the continued use of detection dogs—a position I support fully.
I am aware that police have issued warnings to festival-goers ahead of the Above and Beyond Festival, scheduled on Saturday 9 June 2018 at the Sydney Showground—the event that the member for Newtown's question relates to. Drug detection dogs will patrol that venue. The number one priority of the NSW Police Force is to ensure the safety of all music fans, event staff and performers attending the festival. The NSW Police Force will take all appropriate action within the law to ensure community safety.
Ms Jenny Leong: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 129 on relevance. I asked what powers the NSW Police Force would rely on to confiscate tickets from innocent party goers.
The SPEAKER: It was a specific question but the Minister has been relevant. I cannot direct the Minister to be more specific than he is being, other than to be relevant.
Mr TROY GRANT: I am happy to continue to be relevant and happy to answer the member for Newtown's question, if she does not interrupt me from doing so. I have been advised that on occasions the NSW Police Force denies entry to the Above and Beyond Festival based upon actual or suspected possession of drugs. The police will be doing so with the support and agreement of Sydney Showground, the licensee and the event promoters.