During the long tussle about pill testing at music festivals that has involved lobbyists, the Australian Festival Association, medical scientists, commentators, the NSW Coroner’s Office, and the NSW Government, it’s been announced today that amnesty bins will be available at music festivals in the state.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian alongside the NSW Police announced the amnesty initiative today, saying that punters who decide they have “made a bad decision” in bringing illegal substances to music festivals can discard the drugs in the bins, “no questions asked.”
It’s not clear whether the amnesty bins will be in place in NSW festivals effective immediately, but considering the summer music festival season is about to kick-off, it’s assumed they will be available at all upcoming events.
The introduction of the bins comes after the NSW Deputy Coroner released its recommendations around drug safety at festivals, which recognised that drug amnesty bins could be an option, but as the substances are illegal, “consideration should be given to trialling the provision of amnesty bins, to give people an opportunity to surrender drugs, should they wish to.”
The report also backed the introduction of pill testing at NSW festivals and removing sniffer dogs from festival sites.
Minister for Police, David Elliot, backs the amnesty bin initiative, saying that he encourages people to “use the bins for illegal drugs and enjoy their time at music festivals.”
“The bins give an opportunity to discard dangerous substances without fear of prosecution,” Elliot said.
It’s not clear whether these bins will be made available to people carrying drugs once they have been found by police, as a means to avoid prosecution, or if the punter is required to act independently to dispose of the drugs in the bins.
It’s also not clear whether the substances discarded in the amnesty bins will be clinically tested to check the chemical compounds in party drugs and to get an idea on what’s being circulated.Image: AAP Images / Joel Carrett