The Brag Media
News April 12, 2018

Talks continue over pill-testing at Groovin The Moo Canberra

Talks continue over pill-testing at Groovin The Moo Canberra

With time running out for a firm decision on the first authorised pill-testing at an Australian festival – at Groovin The Moo in Canberra on April 29 – talks are continuing to resolve the stalemate.

As TMN reported earlier, both the ACT and University of Canberra on whose land the festival is held, have given their approval.

But festival promoter Cattleyard Promotions has delayed a decision until legal liability issues are clarified and “being met”.

The promoter said in a statement, “Cattleyard Promotions is currently participating in consultation with all stakeholders.

“We are continuing to explore the numerous complexities of what is required to implement Pill Testing at GTM Canberra, whilst ensuring that we facilitate the best interests of both our patrons and the event.

“Some of the complexities that we are working through involve clarification around patron protection and legal ramifications for those who participate.

“We are also working through guidelines relating to insurances and liability.”

ACT minister for health and well-being Meegan Fitzharris told The Canberra Times that Cattleyard were the “final piece of the puzzle”.

She added, “We are doing everything we can to ensure pill testing goes ahead at Groovin the Moo.

“The ACT government is being proactive and working with stakeholders to address any questions or concerns so we can see this happen, and I hope we have a final outcome soon.”

Other promoters have privately told TMN that they are in theory for the testing of the pills as part of their safety concerns for their patrons.

But there are also concerns for any legal ramifications – especially in NSW and Victoria where authorities have threatened promoters with court action.

There are also insurance issues arising from tests, they say, as indicated by Cattleyard.

However Dr David Caldicott from the testing advocate STA-SAFE consortium said that it had offered legal indemnity in February.

But Cattleyard had wanted blanket indemnity, which Dr. Caldicott seemed to consider unreasonable.

He said the consortium could offer assurances there would be no action from ACT Police towards the festival or to patrons wanting to test what was inside their stash, and to decide whether to risk taking it or throwing it away.

But that indemnity would not cover other patrons who were selling or possessing drugs in other parts of the grounds.

“We may as well be asked to cover an electrical fault on stage,” Dr Caldicott told The Canberra Times.

“We have no control over anything else at the festival.

“We do think it’s reasonable to take on liability as far as the pill testing is concerned, no problem, but to extend beyond that strikes me as something of a grab.”

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