Mike Baird Slams Stereosonic Proposal As Report Suggests Pill Testing Already Legal

3 March 2016 | 11:45 am | Staff Writer

"We're not going to be putting taxpayer funded dollars to be supporting illegal drug dealers."

NSW Premier Mike Baird has swiftly slammed calls by Stereosonic organisers to conduct pilot pill testing programs at their own events, amid reports that NSW police previously advised that a person conducting pill testing would unlikely be charged with an offence.

Appearing on Channel Seven's Sunrise program yesterday, Baird said, "What they are asking us to do is to allow illegal drugs.

"There's a pretty simple way that you know you're going to be safe — don't take the pills," Baird said. 

"We're not going to be putting taxpayer funded dollars to be supporting illegal drug dealers."

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Baird's comments come on the back of news earlier this week that a team of doctors from the Drug Law Reform Foundation plan to introduce pill testing at music festivals regardless of the government's stance on the subject. 

Baird went on to say the simple message his government is trying to put across is that taking drugs is not worth the risk. 

"You get to a position where you might not wake up tomorrow," he said. 

"Is it worth the risk? It's not and that's our encouragement."

Meanwhile a 2005 federal Department of Health and Ageing report contained by The Guardian found that pill testing is unlikely to breach any drug law.

In the report, legal advice given from NSW police to the department says that "testers would not possess adequate knowledge that the substance they were testing was illegal in order to commit an offence, and would not hold the drug for long enough to have control of it."

It goes on to say that "the question of criminality associated with the possession and use of testing kits would depend on the circumstances" and that users in possession of an illegal drug would be subject to standard possession offences.

Speaking to theMusic yesterday, Stereosonic founder Richie McNeill said the festival's support for pill testing is simply based on reducing risk and increasing safety for its patrons. 

"Hopefully they can identify lots of rubbish and prevent people from taking these poisons. Could it save a life? Definitely," he said.

"If the reports are correct that Australian drugs are substituted with loads of poisons then maybe this might prevent them from being taken. That’s a win in our eyes."