Northern-based Senator Ian Macdonald has welcomed an additional $3million investment in a dedicated anti-gang strike team across regional Queensland to help put an end to the scourge of ice.
Senator Macdonald said the funding will extend and enhance the work of the Queensland National Anti-Squad (NAGS) Strike Team in cracking down on the threat posed by outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs), who have been found to play a significant role in the importation, domestic manufacture and trafficking of illegal drugs such as ice.
“This new funding shows the wisdom of the Newman Government’s strong stance against outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Senator Macdonald said.
“It is to the eternal shame of the Palaszczuk Government that they wound back these tough laws which make the national fight even harder.
“But I am pleased the Federal Coalition Government has stepped up in its fight with the additional funding to counter Labor’s soft approach in Queensland.”
Senator Macdonald said the ice epidemic was just as insidious in regional communities across the North as it is in the south-east corner, and welcomed any extra funding that targeted its distribution in those areas.
The Queensland NAGS Strike Team was set up in October 2013 as part of the Government’s $77million investment to help stop the threat posed by OMCGs. Since then it has:
- Made 500 arrests and laid 1650 charges
- Seized 45 firearms and ammunition and
- Seized more than 200kg of illicit drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, cannabis and MDMA
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said the Commonwealth Government is working tirelessly to disrupt and dismantle OMCG networks.
“We know these gangs rely heavily on the illegal drug market as a principle source of profit. More than 60 per cent of the country’s highest risk criminal targets are involved in the ice market and driving its expansion,” Minister Keenan said.
“So we’re going hard to shut down their evil trade and we’re not backing off. This investment will go a long way towards helping disrupt attempts – particularly in regional Queensland – where these gangs peddle the type of drug misery destroying our communities.”
The Coalition Government is investment almost $300 million to improve treatment, after care, education, prevention and community engagement to tackle ice, including a significant investment in rural and regional areas.