BALLARAT will have the opportunity to have its say at a state inquiry into the use and supply of methamphetamines before the end of the year.
Western Victoria MP Simon Ramsay is chairing the state government inquiry, which will focus much of its spotlight on crystal meth or “ice”.
Communities around Victoria have reported skyrocketing use of the drug in recent years and its associated problems of violent crime.
The state inquiry held its first public hearing in Melbourne on Monday and is expected to receive submissions from police and paramedics, as well as drug agencies and families.
Mr Ramsay said the inquiry would “criss cross the state” to investigate fully the supply and use of methamphetamines in Victoria.
He expected the inquiry would likely make its way to Ballarat and other regional centres before Christmas.
“It is a big issue in regional Victoria which is one of the reasons why we’re very keen to hold public hearings in places like Ballarat,” he said.
Mr Ramsay said the inquiry heard that there was an “unusual” uptake in ice in regional areas which hadn’t been seen in other drugs such as heroin, speed or ecstasy.
As well as the manufacture and important of methamphetamines, the inquiry will also investigate the drug’s links to organised crime including outlaw bikie gangs.
“This inquiry will provide the state government with a long term response to the issue of methamphetamines,” said Mr Ramsay.