(McMillan) (12:52): I have just come from my office in Parliament House, where I met with Josie Rycks, who is a year 11 student at Mary McKillop Catholic Regional College in Leongatha. This most impressive young lady is here on the Rotary program that introduces young people to parliament. She at this very moment is speaking in Parliament House on the very issue I am about to speak on—the scourge of ice—in her township of Leongatha, while I will be talking about the scourge of ice across my electorate, which I will come to in a moment. This very charming and intelligent young lady has suggested to me that she will be inviting Ken Lay, the former Chief Commissioner and head of the government's ice task force, to Leongatha to talk to residents in a community forum about how they can tackle the drug ice in their community.
I have also attended community forums on the topic of ice. My disappointment was not that they were not well attended; they were fabulously attended—there were police and support services; and everybody spoke. But my disappointment was: was anything done afterwards? There was no change. In Moe we had quite the opposite experience: after that forum, they decided to do something. Three businesses—two run by young ladies and another one—got together and decided to put an advertisement on the side of a bus that read: 'Dob in a dealer.'
On 8 April, I was part of a group that gathered outside of the police station in Moe to launch what is known as the 'Dob in a dealer' bus. So there was this huge bus with big photos on the side of it with businesses advertising their wares, but on the back it had 'Dob in a dealer. Crime Stoppers' and the number. The bus does its regular rounds around Moe with these huge letters on the back of the bus. Peter Brown from Crime Stoppers Victoria—who the members at the table would have met—said that Moe was a particular success because it was a community that decided they did not want drugs. The idea has been sponsored by two local businesses: Susan Broadbent—no relation; she calls me 'Uncle Russell'—and Christine Waterhouse from Furniture Beds & More; and Alastair Doherty from rent4keeps. They were the ones that paid for the ad on the side of the bus.
Since the bus was launched on 8 April, there has been a 263 per cent spike in tip offs of suspected drug activity. The tip offs ranged from manufacturers of the drug ice, to distribution of crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as ice. Credit should go also to the local police, who have just been fantastic: Sergeant Fusinato; Moe Senior Sergeant Cameron Blair; Latrobe Valley Police Inspector Dean Thomas; and the new head of the national ice task force, a former Korumburra man, Ken Lay.
This ice epidemic is staggering. When you speak to the police, they tell you that they have never struck anything like it in the whole of their careers, and they are 20- and 30-year veterans. They said, 'We have never struck anything like it, and it will attack anybody'. I said to Josie today, 'What age in the school cohort are being affected?' She said, 'Down to 14 years of age.' I said, 'Up to how old?' She said, 'Even older people'. Now, she had no idea how old I was, so I cannot imagine what she calls old, but it is probably 26 or 24. I know for sure that this ice epidemic has directly killed two people around the Warragul area. They were not from low socioeconomic, deprived families. These were young, bright, brilliant tradies with a magnificent future in front of them, destroyed in moments—quality business people destroyed in three months; going from 30 people on their staff, down to nothing; their business gone in three months, and their family destroyed. I believe that my time has expired. Sadly, so many lives will expire before we deal with the ice epidemic. (Time expired)