Taking action to combat ice

In April 2015, the Commonwealth Government established a National Ice Taskforce to provide advice to Government on the impacts of ice in Australia and actions needed to address this growing problem.

Page last updated: 04 December 2015

The Taskforce found that law enforcement agencies have responded strongly to disrupt the supply of ice, but despite these efforts, the market for the drug remains strong. It recommended that governments focus action on reducing the demand for ice and reducing the harm it causes, while enhancing efforts to disrupt supply in key areas.

diagram of the Taking Action on Ice strategyIn response to the findings of the Taskforce, and in consultation with the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs, the Commonwealth Government has developed a comprehensive package of action across five key areas to tackle this problem head on. This package is supported by almost $300 million in new funding. This includes an additional $285.2 million to reduce the demand for ice and the harm it is causing through the delivery of locally-based and targeted solutions. This also includes an additional $13 million to introduce new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for Addiction Medicine Specialists. The measures from this package will form part of the new National Ice Action Strategy, and are in addition to the current funding allocation of up to$310 million for treatment services.

1. Empower local communities and more support for families

Provide an additional $24.9 million to help families and communities by providing the resources, information and support they need to respond to ice and develop solutions tailored to their local needs:
  • Establishing a new online portal of information for parents, students, teachers and community organisations (www.positivechoices.org.au).
  • Funding up to 220 new Community Drug Action Teams that bring together community groups to reduce drug related harms, including through local grant projects.
  • Providing support to more than 1,200 community sporting clubs to deliver prevention messages about ice with a focus on rural, regional, remote and Indigenous communities.
  • Delivering evidence-based interactive online resources to support families and carers of those using ice and other drugs.

2. Target prevention and education to those most at risk

Enhance prevention activities and target populations known to be at risk of ice use under the existing National Drugs Campaign:
  • Developing new evidence-based, targeted communication activities through the National Drugs Campaign to help to prevent the uptake of ice and encourage individuals and families to seek support and treatment.
  • Enhancing school education programmes to include ice-related information to help prevent the uptake of ice.

3. Further investment in treatment and workforce support

Improve access to treatment, especially for rural, regional, remote and Indigenous communities, and ensure our workforce is supported to deliver effective and flexible treatment approaches:
  • Providing a significant investment of $241.5 million for the delivery of further treatment services, with commissioning of these services undertaken by Primary Health Networks at the regional level to ensure local coordination and better patient management. This includes funding to support the delivery of Indigenous-specific treatment services.
  • Focusing efforts on expanding early intervention and support through online counselling and information.
  • Providing an additional $13 million to introduce new MBS items for Addiction Medicine Specialists to increase the availability of treatment.

4. Focused law enforcement

Enhance existing efforts to disrupt the supply of ice through better use of intelligence and international engagement, and targeting organised crime groups involved in the ice trade:
  • Strengthening cooperation with key source and transit countries through developing a new international supply disruption strategy for ice and its precursor chemicals and:
    • investing $5 million in the Australian Crime Commission to deploy officers internationally to strengthen our ability to stop the supply of ice at its source;
    • and increasing cooperation with China through a joint AFP-Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission taskforce focused on investigating organised criminal syndicates responsible for the exportation of ice to Australia.
  • Strengthening the eligibility criteria of the Aviation Security Identification Card and Maritime Security Identification Card schemes to target serious and organised crime.
  • Investing $10 million from the proceeds of crime account – money taken from criminals to develop a pilot infrastructure platform that will inform the design and development of a National Criminal Intelligence System and enhance our ability to share intelligence with state and territory partners.
  • Continuing work with participating states and territories to pursue a national cooperative scheme on unexplained wealth.
  • Investing $1 million to roll out a national Dob in a Dealer campaign to encourage the public to report information on drug manufacture and distribution in their community.
  • Disrupting the supply of ice into our regional and remote communities by exploiting existing capabilities through the Government’s $74 million National Anti-Gangs Squad.

5. Better research, evidence and guidelines

Provide an additional $18.8 million to enhance our evidence base, deliver new guidelines and improve the quality of data and research on ice and other illicit drugs:
  • Establishing a Centre for Clinical Excellence for Emerging Drugs of Concern to build the evidence base for what works.
  • Developing evidence-based guidelines to support frontline workers to respond to ice and expanding training to better support doctors, nurses and other health and community workers to provide screening and brief interventions.
  • Increasing the quality of population data on illicit drugs.
  • Improving our data to better understand our demand for alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Expanding data collections that monitor alcohol and other drug misuse and overdoses to assist in the detection of emerging drug trends.
This extensive package builds on the Commonwealth’s current efforts to combat ice and other illicit drug use in Australia.

Further information is available on the Department of Health's website (www.health.gov.au/ice)
Information on ice and other drugs is available at the National Drugs Campaign website (www.australia.gov.au/drugs) and the Positive Choices website (www.positivechoices.org.au)
Families and individuals needing help can access online counselling at the Turning Point website www.turningpoint.org.au/treatment/online-services/counsellingonline-org or through the National Drugs Campaign website www.australia.gov.au/drugs help page
The Taskforce report can be found at National Ice Taskforce (www.pmc.gov.au/ice)

All information in this publication is correct as at December 2015