Even a former Australian Federal Police Commissioner has blasted the NSW Government over Gladys Berejiklian’s so called “war on festivals”.

Former Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer and Ted Noffs Foundation CEO, Matt Noffs have released statements today warning of more tragic deaths this year if the NSW Government doesn’t act.

“New South Wales has just suffered the most lethal summer of festival deaths on record and it’s happened on this government’s watch,” said Palmer. “Against any criteria we simply lost way too many kids this past summer, and many others went perilously close.”

Matt Noffs added: “It is difficult to understand why you refuse to listen to doctors, experts and parents on this issue? Particularly when the evidence is overwhelming. […] Our children are dying. One death is one too many. It’s time to stop being stubborn and listen to your community.”

A pill testing pilot, similar to what has been approved in the ACT, where officials approved pill testing at Canberra’s Groovin the Moo. Canberra was the first Australian jurisdiction to fulfil a pill testing trial. And the 2018 leg of Groovin the Moo was the place it happened.

2018 saw a total of 85 samples tested during the trial by Safety and Testing and Advisory Service at Festivals and Events (STA-SAFE). Six in 10 of those who had their pills tested said they were surprised by the results, and four in 10 said they would change their behaviour after finding out what was actually in their tablets.

Governments have a duty to back projects that limit the damage connected with drug use. Support for pill-testing has come from:

  • The Royal Australian College of Physicians,
  • Australian Medical Association, the Australian College of Emergency Medicine,
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners,
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists,
  • the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia,
  • the Australian Nurses and Midwifery Federation,
  • and the Rural Doctors’ Association of Australia
  • Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame

Mick Palmer is pushing a Drug Summit, where government and other leaders can hear the science behind pill-testing first hand.

“They can make up their minds then,” he said. “But by prematurely saying no to pill testing, they’re closing their mind to the evidence and are demonstrating a stubbornness and inability to consider the options, to listen to new views or to try new ideas. They have the power to act and to prevent more deaths.”