Official: Canberra’s cocaine snorters lead the nation

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Progressive Canberra is setting the pace as home to the nation’s leading cocaine snorters, Liberal Leanne Castley is kicking some early political goals and the corona jabfest has begun – hooray. It’s another “Seven Days with IAN MEIKLE

IS Canberra the cocaine-snorting capital of Australia? According to the latest analysis of the city’s sewage we’re right up there. 

Ian Meikle.

The drug-monitoring program results, published by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, says that Canberra is now one of Australia’s most lucrative cocaine markets with an estimated consumption exceeding 880 milligrams per 1000 people per day.

“The ACT, NSW and [parts of] Queensland had the highest capital city [cocaine] consumption figures in the nation,” the report says. 

“With the easing of [COVID-19] restrictions in the ACT and Tasmania, it [cocaine use] has increased sharply.” 

Doubtless, this comes as good news for illicit drug distributors waiting to capitalise on Labor MLA Michael Pettersson’s private member’s bill, which seeks to decriminalise possession of (among other hard drugs) up to two grams of cocaine.

I’m guessing, but two grams is good for maybe somewhere between 16 and 20 lines of coke, certainly enough to get the party started. 

SOMEONE ought to tell Liberal newbie Leanne Castley there is still another 44 months to the next ACT election. 

Leanne Castley… another 44 months to the next ACT election.

She laid some punches in December on a dozing government around the $28.7 million Gungahlin pool, opened in 2014 but closed for the best part of a year because of tiles dislodging and faulty drainage. In last month’s Budget, the ACT government sprung to life and remediation of the swim centre is suddenly a priority. 

Then this past week Business Minister Tara Cheyne was obliged in Estimates to tell the world that only 336 of Canberra’s 30,000 small businesses signed up to the trial ChooseCBR discount coupon scheme and that administration costs were an eyebrow-raising $123,000.

Up pops business shadow Leanne, pasting it a “joke” and saying: “I am staggered that $123,000 was spent on admin costs with only $370,000 worth of vouchers redeemed. 

“Canberra’s struggling small businesses would be appalled.”

Minister Cheyne was philosophical, saying the 336 figure was “not a bad starting point” and “I’d like to see it grow”.

The “repaired” footpath in Isabella Plains. Photo: Robert Ardill

THIS column’s cracked-paths campaign continues to reveal more of the city’s neglected footpaths, this week it’s Isabella Plains. Except this one is supposed to have been repaired. 

“All they did was put in asphalt, but it’s still dangerous for walkers and cyclists who use this path off Bandulla Street,” writes reader Robert Ardill.

“It’s very dangerous and has been reported to ‘Fix my Street’, but there’s been no action in six months.”

Robert’s going to let us know when they fix it, hopefully before someone is hurt. 

THE covid vaccinations began nationally and in the ACT a Canberra nurse got the first jab to cheers and applause at the Garran COVID-19 Surge Centre.

Covid jabster Maddy Williams… “I will have to tell my kids… when I have them.”

An accompanying media throng and the federal Health Minister Greg Hunt were there as smiling Maddy Williams, 22, sat patiently for the cameras. 

“I will have to tell my kids… when I have them,” she said.

“When you have a normal vaccination for your flu shots, it just feels no different.

“I actually felt it was better than my normal vaccine.”

THERE was a buzz of another kind with the news the aggressive European wasp nests in the ACT increased six-fold in the past six weeks, with the City Services Directorate arriving at the unsurprising conclusion that it’s going to be an above-average season. 

Normally, in the season from October to the end of April about 500 nests are reported, but since mid-January, there have already been 400 sightings. 

So far, Kambah has recorded the highest number of European wasp nests for south Canberra with 24, while Weetangera tops the north with 17.

A LOCAL radio identity with an obsessive passion for all things Tommy Hilfiger (go figure) ordered some red TH bed sheets on the web the other day. Sheets of his dreams arrive and are excitedly dumped in the washing machine in anticipation of nights in red fashion, tucked up in his queen-size mattress. 

It was not to be. The red Tommies were double-bedders. With no interest from the seller to refund, our friend was left with only one choice. He bought a smaller bed! 

I GOT a nudge from reader Cynthia White correcting my geography for a recent mention of the Italian Brothers restaurant, the one that says it has no fixed opening hours. The eatery is in Manuka not Braddon. Scusa!

Ian Meikle is the “CityNews” editor and can be heard weekly on the “CityNews Sunday Roast” on 2CC, 9am-noon. 


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Ian Meikle
Ian Meikle is the owner and editor of "CityNews".

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