VOLATILE SUBSTANCE ABUSE —
237. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the minister representing the
Minister for Police:
again today, this time in the town of Newman, suggest that the town is ''drowning
under a wave of youth crime, with authorities warning children as young
as 10 have been committing the crimes after sniffing dangerous chemicals''.
(1) What powers
do ordinary Newman residents have when they witness someone sniffing solvents?
(2) Does the
government believe its approach to handling the issue has been successful?
(3) Is the
government considering making the solvent sniffing illegal; and, if not, why
STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question. The following answer has been provided to me by
the Minister for Police.
(1) Residents of
Newman are encouraged to contact Newman police if they witness a person
sniffing solvents or have concerns for the welfare of a person.
(2) Any instance of volatile substance abuse is of
concern. The government is working with local police, other agencies and the
community to address the problem. Community awareness of the issue has been
increased to limit the availability of these substances to young people. Local
retailers have placed these substances
behind the counter, and police have reminded the wider community not to have
such items in plain sight in motor
vehicles. The local police are actively involved in grassroots initiatives such
as the Nightfields program—a collaborative partnership with the Newman
Junior Football Club, the West Australian Football Commission and local
businesses and volunteers. This program encourages children to become involved in sporting activities. Two major
initiatives have been introduced to address youth offending and antisocial
behaviour: the juvenile interagency management strategy and the Newman
collective impact project. An amount of $7 million dollars has been injected
into education initiatives designed to increase student attendance rates and
provide better educational outcomes for Aboriginal students. This funding will
result in the establishment of the position of Martu engagement coordinator at
Newman Senior High School. The role of this position will be to ensure school,
community and interagency support for students. The government has invested
$1.3 million into the Jiji program. This is a program to improve speech,
language and class behaviour in remote east Pilbara schools.
(3) No. Existing
legislation allows police to apprehend people affected by intoxicating
substances and seize intoxicants in their
possession. It is an offence to sell or supply intoxicating substances to
another, suspecting they will use the substance to become intoxicated.