21st of February 2024, 13:06

Today in the Legislative Council, a motion requiring the Government to release the report of former police commissioner Ken Lay into a second medically supervised injecting room in the CBD was overwhelmingly passed.  

With the exception of government members, the debate led by Legalise Cannabis MP David Ettershank received broad support from the Chamber,  to release the Expert Advisory Report which has been with the Government since May 2023.  The motion requires the Government to release the report by March 6th

The government committed to opening Victoria’s second supervised injecting room in 2020, honouring the recommendations of the Hamilton Report, and acknowledging the clear evidence that an overdose prevention service in the CBD will save lives.   

That same year the government established an Expert Advisory Panel led by former police commissioner Ken Lay to examine and report on the effectiveness of medically supervised injecting rooms and the necessity of a supervised injecting room in the CBD. 

The Panel undertook a rigorous process of examination and consultation culminating in Mr Lay delivering his final report to the Mental Health Minister in May 2023. 

But tragically this report has not been released publicly. With today’s motion receiving broad support across the house, the government has now received a formal request to release the report by 6 March 2024. 

The timing of this motion is urgent. Nearly 12% of all ambulance callouts in the City of Melbourne are heroin related. Last September, 20 of Victoria’s peak medical bodies and unions called on the government to urgently open a supervised injecting room in Melbourne’s CBD.  This included the AMA, the College of GPs, the Victorian Healthcare Association, HACSU and the Victorian Ambulance Union. 

Quotes attributable to David Ettershank MP:  

This is a great triumph for transparency that will ultimately facilitate an informed discussion in the community on an important initiative that first and foremost saves lives. 

We know, and the Government knows, from the North Richmond experience, that overdose prevention services save not only save lives, they also provide a wrap-around suite of services that provide addicted people with a road back to health, to security and to life.  

Premier Allen has committed this government to greater transparency, and that’s to be applauded. Consistent with that commitment, today’s result provides the government with the opportunity to walk the talk when it comes to harm reduction and saving lives affected by addiction. 


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