7th February 2024 10:39
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (10:39): 

I rise to speak in support of this documents motion, and in doing so I cannot help but reminisce about my question on notice on this very matter to which I received a response in December last year. I asked the health minister:

Will the Government release the Illicit Tobacco Review report commissioned by the Government in 2021 and undertaken by Better Regulation Victoria.

It was a simple yes or no question. But if you read through the government’s response, you will not see the words yes or no, you will simply see a short statement that the report is being considered by the government.

As this document motion notes, it was in March 2023 that the government received this report. Almost a year later it is still under consideration; no effort has been made to make that report public. In the meantime the illicit market thrives, and I agree with Ms Crozier’s discussion around what is happening with this illicit market and the fire bombings.

Tobacconists continue to be fire-bombed, and criminal syndicates engage in increasingly violent acts to compete for profit. Clearly there is a crisis on the streets of Sydney and Melbourne, and ordinary citizens are being caught in the crossfire.

We know from cannabis that prohibitive regulations send demand into the illicit market. There, instead of money going back into government pockets and being spent on harm reduction measures, it goes straight into the illicit market, fuelling further violence and illicit activities.

Legalise Cannabis Victoria believes in harm reduction and the need for true transparency and integrity in government. We will support this motion, and wherever we can we will support documents motions.

It is especially important to us that we lend our support in this case. We have witnessed firsthand a failure from government to respond to this report in a timely manner and to be transparent with its recommendations. Let this report into the public domain, and let us get on with the response.


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