Australia

Drug users and dealers now face harsher penalties at NSW music festivals

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The NSW government will hold drug dealers responsible for the deaths of people they supply to at festivals under planned new laws.

Drug dealers will be held responsible for the deaths of any people they have supplied pills to at music festivals under laws being proposed by the NSW government.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday said dealers could be jailed for up to 25 years if people who buy drugs off them subsequently die.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian signalled in principle support for the recommendations from report on drugs and music festivals.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian signalled in principle support for the recommendations from report on drugs and music festivals.
AAP

The proposed changes - which would also include on-the-spot fines of up to $500 for people caught with drugs at festivals - were recommended by an expert panel set up in the wake of two music festival deaths in Sydney in September.

Ms Berejiklian believed the punishment should be between 10 and 25 years' jail, in the range of grievous bodily harm and manslaughter charges.

The government-established panel was asked to give advice on how to improve safety at festivals but not to consider the merits of pill testing.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, a member of the panel, said the belief that pill testing was going to save lives in NSW was a "myth".

"There's no science behind what per cent is safe to take," he told reporters.

"From my perspective as a father, I think to myself 'would I ever test my kids drugs? Absolutely not'."

He backed the premier's plan to throw the book at dealers.

"The stronger the charge the better," Mr Fuller said.

Asked how the laws would be policed, and whether people giving pills to friends would lump them in the same category as drug dealers, Ms Berejiklian said the government was "working through those legal issues".

"I value human life. I don't want to see human life taken away unnecessarily," she said.

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From the archives: Renewed push for pill testing at music festivals
From the archives: Renewed push for pill testing at music festivals

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