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NSW Government to ignore Coroner’s pill testing recommendation as it reintroduces festival management laws

NSW Government to ignore Coroner’s pill testing recommendation as it reintroduces festival management laws
October 16, 2019

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has again ruled out the prospect of introducing pill testing at music festivals despite a leaked draft Coroner's report recommending the move.

Simultaneously, the NSW Government is today introducing to Parliament legislation to reinstate a system that requires festivals deemed ‘high-risk’ to meet a safety management plan.

Premier Berejiklian told ABC News she had not yet seen the Coroner's report but the NSW Government's position on pill testing was unchanged.

She advised “we will not go down that path because we feel very strongly that it sends a wrong message.

"It actually gives people a false sense of security because how one person reacts to a drug is very different to another person reacting and unfortunately we have seen people lose their lives by taking what is a pure substance, a pure drug.

"What pill testing does is pick up on irregularities, however pill testing doesn't protect people from the actual substance itself and that's what concerns us as a Government."

11 out of about 90 festivals that take place across the state will be deemed ‘high-risk’ and subject to heightened criteria covering emergency medical workers, security and other conditions such as patrons' access to water.

The regulations were introduced in March but disallowed in a motion carried by the NSW Upper House late last month.

Adding that the "vast majority" of festivals had sufficient safety measures, Premier Berejiklian advised “we strongly say to people, we want people to have a good time. We want these music festivals to flourish, we want more of them.

"But when you're deemed to be high-risk, we want you to meet the government halfway in terms of ensuring sufficient health support (and) sufficient security to protect the safety of what are sometimes very large festivals with thousands and thousands of young people attending."

The move to reinstate the legislation comes a day after the leaking of draft recommendations from a Coronial inquest into a number of drug-related deaths at NSW festivals over the past summer.

NSW Coroner Harriet Grahame is reportedly set to recommend pill testing and the scrapping of police body searches and sniffer dogs, according to the leaked documents.

Image shows the former Defqon music festival.

Related Articles

12th October 2019 - Tamworth Country Music Festival executive to address inaugural Australian Festival Industry Conference

27th September 2019 - NSW Upper House vote sees music festival regulations ditched

25th September 2019 - Live Performance Australia advises that collaboration is key to safer music festivals

28th August 2019 - Inquiry calls for scrapping of NSW festival licencing scheme

19th July 2019 - NSW music festival deaths inquiry told trauma of strip-searches similar to that of sexual assaults

16th July 2019 - Music festival deaths inquest hears presence of Police dogs led to panicked drug-taking

16th July 2019 - NSW Government’s festival licensing scheme needs ‘complete overhaul’

13th July 2019 - Inquest hears of multiple failings by organisers and Police over festival drug deaths

30th May 2019 - Following 2018 drug deaths Defqon.1 festival now ‘postponed indefinitely’

30th April 2019 - Pill testing saves lives at ACT’s Groovin the Moo festival

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