Greens offer invitation to Defqon.1 to relocate to Canberra
The NSW government has backed off its early threats to ban Defqon.1 from being staged anywhere in the state.
But its promoters will have to go through the hoops to get permission.
So far, the authorities have refused to concede that pill testing might have saved the lives of the two Defqon.1 patrons and possibly alleviate the trauma of the 700 who needed medical help.
Now, ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury is offering a lifeline to the festival, by inviting promoters Q-Dance to move it to Canberra where pill-testing could be carried out.
The letter read in part: “Following the disappointing response from the NSW government in relation to the extremely sad news of the deaths of two people who attended your Defqon.1 festival recently, I would like to encourage you to consider relocating future festivals and events to Canberra where a pill testing facility may be established to minimise drug harm for festival patrons.”
The ACT was the first in Australia to carry out official pill-testing, at Groovin’ The Moo in April, on the grounds of the University of Canberra.
However, plans to hold the trials at Spilt Music have run into problems because it’s held on Commonwealth land.
The National Capital Authority (NCA) has stated there is no legal framework for tests to be held on the land.
Drug test advocates are working out whether to hold the tests outside the festival site, although they would prefer to do it on-site because it would be more effective.
On the weekend, hundreds of people in Canberra held a rally, urging the NCA to reconsider the move.
The ABC reported Rattenbury as saying that moving the festival, which drew 30,000 to the Sydney event last month, would also be an economic and cultural boost for Canberra.
“This is a great event, I think it would be great to bring it to Canberra from a tourism point of view, to have something for our young people to go to,” he said, the ABC reported.
The Greens want to work with the promoters to make the festival as safe as possible.
“At Defqon, because there was no pill testing, we saw people were obviously taking drugs without any ability to check them.
“I think … a really important part about having it here in the ACT would be offering that service.”