The Barr government says the NSW government's plan to enforce harsher penalties on drug users and dealers at music festivals "does nothing to prevent harm".
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Tuesday her government would strengthen laws to target drug suppliers by introducing a new offence that would hold them responsible for any deaths they cause, punishable by up to 25 years in jail.
The government would also trial on-the-spot fines for drug possession of up to $500.
The announcement followed a month-long investigation by an expert panel sparked by the deaths of two young people at Defqon.1.
ACT Opposition legal affairs spokesman Jeremy Hanson said the proposal had merit.
"We will consider it along with the other recommendations arising from the recent expert panel investigation in NSW following the tragic deaths at Defqon.1," Mr Hanson said.
An ACT government spokeswoman said while the territory would examine any available data from NSW about the effectiveness of these laws, its approach would be guided by evidence about how to minimise the harm from drugs.
"We are disappointed that the response of the NSW government in no way seeks to minimise the harm of dangerous drugs. This announcement only addresses the issue of drug dealing after a death occurs and does nothing to prevent harm," the spokeswoman said.
"In the ACT, we have proactively engaged with ACT Police, health officials and event organisers to develop a harm minimisation approach to the issue of drug use at festivals, and Australia’s first pill testing trial was the result of that engagement. Our approach is based on harm minimisation, supply reduction and harm reduction, as outlined in the National Drug Strategy.
"Pill testing has worked overseas, it has worked in the ACT, and we will continue to support policies that minimise harm of young people at music festivals. We would be happy to work with the NSW government in any consideration of pill testing in their jurisdiction."
ACT Greens spokesman for drug law reform, Shane Rattenbury, said the NSW government was "doubling down on its ineffective law and order approach to drug policy".
“The ‘war on drugs’ has been a failure and young people are dying because of it. We need a new approach," he said,
“How many young people have to die or end up with criminal records because they can’t afford to pay these punitive fines before we start talking about treating drug use at festivals as a health issue?
“How many pointless charges need to be set up, trying to force the courts to link a specific drug death with a specific dealer?
“How many more young lives must be lost? How much longer must drug policy fail, before we listen to the experts and act accordingly?”
Mr Rattenbury courted controversy earlier this month when he invited Defqon.1 to move to Canberra after Ms Berejiklian vowed to shut the festival down.
Australia's first government-backed pill testing trial took place at Groovin the Moo in Canberra earlier this year.
An official pill testing service won't take place at next month's Spilt Milk festival after the National Capital Authority said it was not permitted.
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