Despite renewed calls for Australian music festivals to introduce pill testing following two deaths at last weekend's Defqon festival, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has again rejected the proposal.
As ABC reports, Berejiklian has instead an announced a panel, which includes Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant and Chair of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority Philip Crawford, which will advise on how to address drug use at music festivals, whether harsher penalties should be considered for drug dealers and how festival promoters can improve safety.
"Pill testing doesn’t guarantee the safety of a drug," Berejiklian said.
"What might be safe for one person may not be safe for another person. The last thing we would want to see is people get a false sense of security... and if something is illegal, it is inappropriate for us to turn a blind eye and say it’s okay for that to happen.”
Meanwhile, the ACT Government has confirmed it will consider hosting a pill testing facility outside of Spilt Milk festival's Canberra event this November, after National Capital Authority (NCA), which controls the Commonwealth land where the festival is to be held, said there is no legal framework in place to conduct the testing.
It comes after Groovin The Moo held the Australian-first pill testing at its Canberra leg this past April.
"We've seen the terrible consequences that can arise on the weekend just gone at the Defqon festival in Sydney," ACT Greens Leader and Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury said.
"We'll continue to make the case to the NCA… I don't hold out great hope.
"We could certainly allow it to take place on ACT Government land somewhere nearby, it could be at the bus interchange because a lot of people come through there."
In an exclusive opinion piece written for The Music this week, Ted Noffs Foundation Campaigns & Policy Coordinator Shelley Smith took aim at government for refusing to look at the evidence from pill testing at conducted at Groovin The Moo this year.
"How can our politicians continue to ignore both science and the electorate, when there have been far too many deaths?" Smith wrote.
"We’ve established that we can prevent harm at music festivals, so why do governments continue to bury their heads in the sand?"
Read the full piece here.