Customs Minister Maurice Williamson says a concerted effort to choke off the supply of methamphetamine precursor drugs is paying dividends.
More than 1.2 tonnes of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine was captured by Customs in 921 seizures in 2009 – which was a record high.
“In the first nine months of this year just over 300 kilograms was intercepted in 264 seizures,” Mr Williamson says.
“We believe measures the Government has taken since 2009 have resulted in the supply of precursors being constrained, and it is reflected in the statistics.”
The Government has focused on attacking the supply, manufacture and consumption of methamphetamine because of its dominance of the illicit drug market.
In 2009, the Methamphetamine Action Plan was released with the goal of significantly reducing methamphetamine use and its associated harm.
“In 2010, I signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with China, which is the country’s primary source of methamphetamine precursors. Since then, both Customs administrations have worked to stem the import of precursors from China.”
The Integrated Targeting and Operations Centre, which assess threats and targets risks to the border more efficiently, also opened in the past two years.
“While evidence suggests the methamphetamine market is smaller now than it was, the battle is not over and we must remain vigilant,” Mr Williamson says.
“By reducing the amount of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine coming across the border we can prevent millions of dollars of harm to the country.”