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Friday, 13 September 2013

DRUG CRIME UP IN GREATER BENDIGO – DRUG EDUCATION CUT BY NAPTHINE

Recently released crime statistics showing a steep increase in drug crimes in Greater Bendigo demonstrate the need to reinstate drug education staff in the education system, according to State Members for Bendigo, Maree Edwards and Jacinta Allan.

Victorian Police crime statistics released recently for the 2012/2013 period show that drug offences in Greater Bendigo are up by 21% to 272 offences. This follows reports that use of the methamphetamine; ‘ice’ has reached crisis proportions in Victoria.

Ms Edwards has slammed the cuts to drug education officers.

“These disturbing figures have been released within a year of the Napthine Government taking the axe to all eighteen drug education positions within the education department”, Ms Edwards said.

Until January this year, each of the nine regions within the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development employed two dedicated drug education specialists.

“These officers worked with all schools in their respective regions to ensure that effective drug education was provided to students”, Ms Edwards said.

“Students from government, catholic and independent schools have now lost this expertise thanks to the Napthine Government’s savage cuts to education,” Ms Allan said.

“Our children need to have the knowledge and the confidence to make the right decisions when they come into contact with drugs and these short-sighted cuts leave them dangerously exposed,” Ms Allan said.

“If the Premier is serious about tackling this problem, the first thing he should do is re-instate these drug education positions’, Ms Edward said.

“It was great to hear the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Ken Lay recently highlight the importance of education in the battle to reduce the incidence of illicit drug use. Premier Napthine should take notice,” said Ms Edwards.

Ms Edwards said that Victorian parents would rightfully be horrified by the loss of this important aspect of their children’s education.

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