COM­BAT­ING OUR EPI­DEMIC

Mara­noa MP holds ice talk in St Ge­orge

Balonne Beacon - - FRONT PAGE - Laura Telford laura.telford@balon­nebea­con.com.au

TAK­ING con­trol of the drug ice will take a whole of com­mu­nity ap­proach, was the theme at Mon­day night’s com­mu­nity Ice Fo­rum run by Mara­noa MP David Lit­tleproud.

The fo­rum was an op­por­tu­nity for com­mu­nity mem­bers and ser­vice providers to con­nect and to find out what pos­si­ble so­lu­tions and op­tions can be sought for peo­ple in the Balonne Shire.

“I be­lieve the so­lu­tion lies in get­ting the right mix of ser­vices in each com­mu­nity,” Mr Lit­tleproud said.

“Be­cause what works in one com­mu­nity may not be suit­able for an­other re­gion and that’s why a tar­geted and engaged ap­proach is so im­por­tant.”

A num­ber of health and com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives ad­dressed the crowd, in­clud­ing Of­fi­cer in Charge at St Ge­orge Po­lice, Se­nior Sergeant, Paul Tabrett.

“Speak­ing from my per­spec­tive, when I first came to St Ge­orge two years ago, it was ob­vi­ous there was a prob­lem in town,” OIC Tabrett said.

“We are no worse than any other town in the state, but be­cause we have a sense of com­mu­nity we all want some­thing to be done.

“How­ever from a po­lice per­spec­tive it is very clear we can’t ar­rest our way out of this prob­lem, it will take a whole of com­mu­nity ap­proach,” he said.

“Ev­ery­body in the com­mu­nity should be con­cerned about his prob­lem, it does not dis­crim­i­nate and we need to draw upon each other, be­cause if we do not get this re­sponse right, we will lose a gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple.”

While the meet­ing was a som­bre re­minder about how de­struc­tive ice can be, many left the meet­ing with a re­newed sense of pur­pose that things can change, and with an open in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend the next Local Drug Ac­tion Team (LDAT) meet­ing to be apart of the grass­roots push to get an LDAT project co­or­di­na­tor to keep com­mu­nity in­ter­est up and in­ves­ti­gate ways spe­cific to the Balonne Shire to stop peo­ple get­ting on drugs.

PHOTO: LAURA TELFORD

TALK­ING DRUGS: A strong crowd gath­ered at the cul­tural cen­tre on Mon­day night for a com­mu­nity meet­ing on how to com­bat ice in the com­mu­nity or­gan­ised by Mara­noa MP David Lit­tleproud, with mayor Richard Marsh, Chris­tine Richards, deputy mayor Fiona Gaske, MP David Lit­tleproud, IOC St Ge­orge Po­lice Paul Tabrett and new drug coun­sel­lor Ka­mal Musi­tapa speak­ing at the meet­ing.

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