The federal government is establishing a taskforce to co-ordinate a national response to the scourge of the drug ice.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who launches the new group in Sydney on Wednesday morning, said ice use was growing around the nation, ruining individuals, destroying families and hurting communities.
He said the Australian Crime Commission considers ice currently poses the highest risk to the community of all illicit drugs, with usage almost doubling in the last 12 months.
The new taskforce will be led by former Victoria Police chief commissioner Ken Lay.
It will be overseen by Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash and Justice Minister Michael Keenan, who will lead the government response.
Mr Abbott said the ice taskforce will examine all existing efforts to address ice and identify ways to take a systematic, comprehensive and coordinated approach to education, health and law enforcement.
‘Because the ice scourge affects the whole community, the Taskforce will consult widely to ensure that all aspects of this menace are being addressed,’ he said in a statement.
Mr Abbott said governments at all levels were taking steps to address ice but these need to be targeted, efficient and effective.
‘While these initiatives are being rolled out at the local, state and territory level, there is a role for the commonwealth government to assist in co-ordinating and assessing their effectiveness in addressing the ice epidemic,’ he said.
The taskforce will provide an interim report to Mr Abbott by mid-year.
That will be considered at the first subsequent meeting of the Council of Australian Governments.