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Hobart City Council passes motion to back pill testing at festivals

Hobart City Council has passed a motion to provide in-principal support for pill testing at music festivals and other major events in the municipality. The vote was split six for and three against.

The council also plans to do some “myth-busting” so locals can better understand how pill testing works.

Hobart City Council has passed a motion to support pill testing at festivals, also hopes to get the state government on board.

Councillor Holly Ewin, who put forward the motion at Monday’s council meeting, spoke to the ABC yesterday about what this motion will actually mean when put into practice, saying that it’s now about continuing the conversation.

“So whether we’ve got personal and professional connections with other people, even just in the community, let alone other levels of government and just keeping on talking about it and saying this is good evidence-based policy and these are the decisions we should be making for minimising harm in our community.”

An amendment to the motion was that the council would not have to contribute financially towards the tests.

The Tasmanian State Government are currently against pill testing, ignoring the Australian Medical Association, who have backed pill testing trials – like the hugely successful trials at Groovin the Moo festival in Canberra – in the wake of the recent festival deaths.

A government spokesperson reaffirmed their anti-pill testing stance, saying that “We do not support pill testing. There is no safe use of any illicit drug and our concern is that a testing service indicating an illegal drug is free of certain contaminants sends a mixed and risky message.”

Councillor Ewin says that the next step is to get the Tasmanian State Government on board, with the motion calling upon the State Government to “commence the necessary action to facilitate” a pill testing trial, after the results from the NSW coronial inquest are released.