The issue of random roadside drug testing in the ACT will be further considered at the next meeting of the Tuggeranong Community Council on Tuesday 2 March. While drink driving remains a major factor in road accidents in Australia, drug driving is also a cause for concern, particularly in the ACT. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Australia rates first place in the world for abuse of MDMA (Ecstasy) out of 99 countries, 2nd place for abuse of Amphetamines and 10th place for abuse of Cannabis. Meanwhile, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the ACT ranks number one in Australia for abuse of Ecstasy, 3rd for abuse of Amphetamines and 4th place for abuse of Cannabis. Not only are Council members concerned about drug abuse in the ACT, they are also concerned that people are driving on our roads while under the influence of these illegal drugs.

The ACT Government is currently considering calls to introduce random roadside drug testing in the ACT. At present ACT Police are able to test any driver who is involved in an accident or that they suspect may be under the influence of a substance whilst driving, but “random testing” does not occur. Random roadside drug testing already operates in other jurisdictions in Australia, in a similar way to random breath testing (RBT) of motorists for driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Professor Gabrielle Cooper, Head of Discipline of Pharmacy of the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra has undertaken a great deal of research on this issue with funding assistance from the NRMA. Professor Cooper has been invited to address the next Tuggeranong Community Council meeting on random roadside drug testing and the results of her research on Tuesday 2 March.

Hamish Horne from the ACT Cemeteries Authority addressed the Council’s last meeting on plans for a new Southern Cemetery in Canberra. The Council was grateful to Mr Horne for providing the briefing as part of the ACT Government’s consultation program on the new cemetery. While the Council recognises the need for a new cemetery and particularly one in Tuggeranong, members expressed some concerns over its proposed location on Mugga Lane and plans for it to include a crematorium. Some council members suggested other sites also be considered and more chapels to be included in the plans instead of a crematorium. They believe the crematorium at Mitchell could also fulfil the cremation services for a new Southern cemetery.

Finally the Tuggeranong Community Council Executive wishes to advise members and guests of a permanent change of venue and meeting night. The Council has decided to move due to renovations planned for the Vikings Town Centre Club which has been our home for many years. The Council will now meet on the first Tuesday of each month. All future meetings will be held upstairs of the Southern Cross Club on the corner of Pitman and Holwell Streets in Tuggeranong. Our first meeting at our new venue will be on Tuesday 2 March commencing at 7.30pm. Meanwhile, Council members wish to thank the management and staff of Vikings Town Centre Club for their kind hospitality and long time support and we wish them the best in their future plans for the club. For further information please visit the Council at its new website address of; www.tuggcc.com or email the Council at its new email address of; info@tuggcc.com

Darryl Johnston
President, Tuggeranong Community Council

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