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NSW Premier announces panel to look into drug issues at music festivals
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced she will appoint a panel to look into the management of music festivals and drug taking during the events following the overdose deaths of two young adults at the Defqon.1 festival at the weekend.
Seeming to move away from threats shew made on Sunday to shut down the Western Sydney music festival after the two drug-related deaths, Premier Berejiklian ruled out that pill testing would be considered under any circumstances.
Premier Berejiklian announced a panel was being convened to advise on safety at festivals that will include NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant and Chair of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority Philip Crawford.
Advising that pill testing would not be considered, Premier Berejiklian advised “pill testing doesn’t guarantee the safety of a drug, what might be safe for one person might not be safe for another person. The last thing we want to see is people get a false sense of security.
“Issue number two is if something is illegal it is not okay to break the law. We have to accept and respect the law.
“And if something is illegal, it is inappropriate for us to turn a blind eye and say it’s okay for that to happen.”
She also suggested “new offences”, “harsher penalties” and “better education” as areas to be considered and that Defqon.1 could not continue in its “current form”.
The NSW Premier also maintained she’s determined to change the “growing culture” of illegal drug taking in NSW.
NSW Police said 355 drug searches were conducted during the weekend event with 69 people found to be in possession of illicit substances.
Premier Berejiklian added “music festivals, dance festivals, are an important part of our culture - we don't want anybody to stop having fun at these events (but) we do not support a culture that says it’s okay to take illegal drugs.
“Festival goers have a right to enjoy these events without fear of harm. Parents and families expect us to do whatever we can to keep their children safe.”
Defqon.1 Festival organisers have expressed their condolences for the victims' families.
Earlier this year a Victorian Parliamentary committee recommended that pill testing should be introduced at music festivals to help emergency workers treat patients suffering adverse reactions like overdoses.
Image: Defqon.1 was held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre.
16th September 2018 - NSW Premier vows to ban Sydney music festival after drug deaths
23rd July 2018 - NSW Government looks to increase hosting of major sporting events
13th February 2017 - SafeWork SA emphasises health and safety through Adelaide’s major festival season
8th February 2017 - The Riskworks Network shares advice on keeping youth safe at music festivals
2nd October 2016 - More than 100 drug arrests at Sydney Listen Out festival
3rd January 2016 - WA Health issues drug and alcohol warning to summer festival fans
29th November 2015 - Woman dies at Sydney Stereosonic music festival as 70 face drug charges
19th March 2014 - Deaths and drug arrests at Future Music Festival Asia
15th September 2013 - Man dies at Penrith music festival
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