The Gallop Government has boosted police powers to stamp out the manufacture of illegal drugs in backyard laboratories.
Premier Geoff Gallop said new laws placed strict controls on the supply of chemicals and equipment that could be used illegally in the manufacture of amphetamines and other drugs.
“These laws give our police the powers to scrutinise who is buying quantities of these chemicals and arrest those who have no legitimate use for them,” Dr Gallop said.
“Police are now targeting criminals, like outlaw motorcycle gangs, who can manufacture illegal drugs relatively quickly and make huge profits while destroying the lives of thousands of Western Australians.
“Our Government is determined to combat this part of the drug trade through these new laws which give police the tools to track down and prosecute these illegal operators.”
The Premier said under the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill, people purchasing chemicals and equipment would have to provide photographic identification, such as a driver's licence and a written declaration outlining the reason for the chemicals and equipment.
Dr Gallop said the new laws would affect more than 300 suppliers around WA, many of whom had already been working in partnership with police under a voluntary code of conduct.
“To ensure this crackdown works effectively, our Government has boosted police powers to enable them to enter the premises and inspect the records of suppliers,” he said.
The Premier said over the last 12 months, police had located and closed 41 clandestine laboratories. This included a laboratory in Boyanup in August where $300,000 worth of equipment and chemicals were seized.
Dr Gallop said strong economic management had enabled the State Government to boost police funding by nearly $180million with the focus on more police and frontline policing to target drug trafficking.
“Under our Government, the police now have the resources to detect and apprehend more of the Mr Bigs of the drug trade than ever before,” he said.
“This is in contrast to the previous Liberal government, which bungled their budgets to such an extent that they could not recruit even one additional police officer over a four-year period and virtually had to beg and borrow equipment.”
The Premier said the new laws also closed a judicial loophole where the principal drug trafficker or the ‘Mr Bigs’ of the operation were receiving discounted sentences of up to 50 per cent less in their jail terms.
“This occurs when police intercept a drug shipment and substitute the seized drug with a harmless substance,” he said.
“We have closed this loophole and given the justice system the tools and penalties to appropriately punish the Mr Bigs.”
Under the new laws the penalties include up to five years’ jail and/or $20,000 fine for possession of drugs without a lawful excuse.
Failing to disclose information about use of illegal chemicals attracts fines ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 for an individual and $25,000 to $75,000 for a company.
Giving a false declaration about the use of the chemicals carries a fine ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.
Premier's office: 9222 9475