26 legal, health, community and church groups applaud proposed NSW drug reforms

Twenty-six legal, medical, health, community and church groups, have welcomed news that the NSW Government is considering changing the law regarding small quantities of drugs and instead introduce a diversionary system.

This group, many of whom are members of the Fair Treatment campaign (www.fairtreatment.org), has long-campaigned for such a move, arguing drug laws should be reformed so that drug use can be treated primarily as a health and social issue.

We welcome a greater emphasis on diversion but this will only be effective if health and social measures have increased funding and support.

We support these sensible measures that reflect the government is listening to the medical and legal experts and making laws based on the evidence.

This small step brings NSW in line with other jurisdictions around Australia that have similar diversion systems.

Too many people who use drugs are made to live in the shadows, looked down upon with shame and stigma and therefore don’t seek help because of our current drug laws.

We believe this move by the NSW Government could allow police to be tough on crime, diverting resources to policing large drug traffickers and violent offences, where we as a society need their attention to be. We need the helping hand of treatment and support extended to those with drug dependency.

We all want a society in which all people are valued and their dignity as human beings recognised. Parents want to know that their kids will come home from a night out and if they have drug dependency society will help keep them safe until they can get treatment. This move by the NSW government is to be applauded.

We look forward to an ongoing dialogue about the freeing up of police resources and funding for treatment for people who seek it.

The signatories to this statement include:

Rev. Simon Hansford


Uniting Church in Australia

Synod of NSW & the ACT

Nicholas Cowdery AO QC


NSW Council of Civil Liberties

Pastor Jon Owen


Wayside Chapel

Bishop Peter Stuart

Anglican Diocese of Newcastle

Robert Stirling


Network of Alcohol and Other Drugs Agency

Devin Bowles


Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Association ACT


Tracey Burton

Executive Director

Uniting NSW.ACT


Carmel Tebbutt


Mental Health Coordinating Council


Dr Erin Lalor


Alcohol and Other Drug Foundation

Tony Trimingham


Family Drug Support


Dr Tony Sara


ASMOF NSW (the Doctors Union)

Terry Slevin


Public Health Association of Australia

Professor Alison Ritter


Drug Policy Modelling Program UNSW

Dr Alex Wodak AM


Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation

Dr Marianne Jauncey

Medical Director

Medically Supervised Injecting Centre

Wil Tregoning



Greg Chipp


Drug Policy Australia


Bill Bush


Families and Friends of Drug Law Reform

Nicky Bath


The National LGBTI Health Alliance

Steven Drew


Hepatitis NSW


Professor Carla Treloar


Centre for Social Research, Social Policy Research Centre

Chris Gough

Executive Director

Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy

Professor Simon Lenton


National Drug Research Institute

Professor Anne M Roche


National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction

Alexis Apostolellis


Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine

Dr Jake Rance

Research Fellow






The Moderator of the Uniting Church (Sydney and NSW) , Rev. Simon Hansford, is available for interview


Media contact: Martin Thomas 0477 340 704


About the Uniting Church Synod of NSW and ACT 

The Uniting Church is one of the largest Christian denominations in Australia. Our Congregations and members are diverse in age, location and culture. The Synod of NSW and the ACT supports more than 500 Congregations, 50,000 members, 14 Presbyteries and 9 schools and Parish Missions. We are connected by a single story, worshipping every week in more than 40 languages.


About Uniting | uniting.org 

Uniting is responsible for the social justice, community services and chaplaincy work of the Uniting Church in NSW and the ACT, providing care and support for people through all ages and stages of life and with a focus on people experiencing disadvantage and vulnerability. Our purpose is to inspire people, enliven communities and confront injustice. We celebrate diversity and welcome everyone exactly as they are.