A Hobart City Council committee has voted unanimously in favour of allowing pill testing trials at major public events held within the city, marking a major step in legislative support for the ever-growing issue.
The Culture, Events, and Community Committee voted on Wednesday night, unanimously passing what amounts to in-principle support on behalf of the greater City Council.
The support would mean that, if allowed, pill testing trials would commence at festivals and events held within the Hobart municipality. This would include at events such as Dark Mofo, which attracts scores of tourists from all across Australia and internationally as well.
Councillors involved in Wednesday night’s vote will now take the motion to the greater City Council for a formal vote on the matter, where it is expected to pass without hassle.
While that alone is a big step forward, it faces the stumbling block of needing support from the State Government in order to enact it.
The Tassie State Government, a Liberal Party majority lead by Premier Will Hodgman, remains opposed to allowing pill testing within the state, in-line with the broader Liberal Party’s official policy position.
Councillor Holly Ewin previously told the ABC that the City Council committee has gone so far as to have a pill testing kit lined up ready to go should the State Government show willingness to allow it to be deployed.
It would just take the Police Minister [Mark Shelton] saying we have a [memorandum of understanding] with our staff that we’re not going to hassle people who are getting their drugs tested.
We’ve got the person who actually runs Pill Testing Australia and they’re willing to give us one free trial, which is worth $5,000. So all it takes from here is the State Government to say ‘yes we’ll allow a trial’.
The Australian Medical Association formally backed supervised pill testing trials as a means of promoting harm reduction back in March, meaning the process now has the backing of virtually every major health organisation in Australia.Image: Getty Images / Universal History Archive