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Published: 10 October 2022


Have you ever wondered what the NSW Government will and won’t do in tackling the drug Ice?

Have you ever wondered what the NSW Government will and won’t do in tackling the drug Ice?

Recently the NSW Government provided its response to the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’ (Ice Report). This report focuses on crystal methamphetamine (Ice) but also other amphetamine-type stimulants, these are MDMA, speed and ecstasy.

The Ice Report was released in January 2020, and covered the following:

  • Ice’s nature, prevalence, and impact on the community
  • Adequacy of existing measures to target Ice
  • Options to improve the NSW Government’s response

To access the Ice Report, click here.

The NSW Government announced funding of almost $500 million covering multiple programs, including:

  1. Evidence-based treatment, support and early intervention services
  2. Integrated and coordinated approaches to care
  3. Enhance digital capability and virtual healthcare
  4. Expand the alcohol and other drug workforce
  5. Expanding MERIT, Circle Sentencing, Justice Reinvestment, Youth Koori Court and Drug Court

You can read the NSW Government’s response here.


The most liberal recommendations were ruled out by the NSW Government. Arguably, these measures could have the greatest impact in reducing interactions with the criminal justice system.

The recommendations that are not supported include:

  1. Pill testing
  2. Expanding the medically supervised injecting program
  3. Decriminalisation of “Ice Pipes”
  4. Trial of needle and syringe program in correctional centres
  5. Removal of drug detection dogs at music festivals


The NSW Government strongly rejected decriminalising personal use and the possession of small amounts of drugs. However, by 30 June 2023, the NSW Chief Health Officer and NSW Police Commissioner will jointly advise the Government whether a pre-court diversion scheme is feasible.

This scheme is being termed the Two Strike System, and would cover:

  1. Expansion of the Criminal Infringement Notice (CIN) Scheme to include low level drug offending
  2. Allow NSW Police to issue a maximum of two CINs for low level drug offending. A Court Attendance Notice to be issued for subsequent offences.
  3. The CIN monetary penalty to be waived after completion of a specific health intervention program
  4. Retention of police discretion to charge a person and issue a CAN if appropriate.


A broad range of organisations have responded to the NSW Government’s plan. The main concerns include:

  • Two Strike System doesn’t account for people with serious drug issues, and persons with extensive criminal records.
  • Lack of access for regional people to Drug Courts, Circle Sentencing and MERIT.
  • Nearly three-year delayed response to the Ice Report
  • Conservative approach regarding the most innovative recommendations

Matt Ward recently spoke to ABC News regarding the Ice Report, you can read about here.

At Morrisons we are specialist criminal and traffic lawyers based in Wollongong and the Southern Highlands. If you require advice or representation, you can book an appointment with one of our expert criminal lawyers.

Contact us today

We are the only private law firm in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and South Coast regions with two lawyers recognised as Accredited Specialists in Criminal Law by the NSW Law Society.