Australia's National Drug Strategy beyond 2009: consultation paper
Cross-sectoral partnerships are essential to coordinating resources and effort, enlisting skills, experience and expertise, and bringing people together to work collectively toward the common goal of reducing drug-related harm. Strong partnerships between health and law enforcement and between government and non-government sectors have been central to Australia's National Drug Strategy. The Strategy has at various times promoted partnerships between Federal, State/Territory and local governments, with the education sector, affected communities, non-government organisations, health professionals and researchers. In our increasingly complex policy environment and inter-connected society, it will be important to strengthen and extend these partnerships to ensure the continued success of the Strategy.
The renewed policy focus on social inclusion is particularly relevant to the drug and alcohol sector. It provides an opportunity to strengthen links with community, welfare, housing, indigenous, youth and other organisations to get at some of the factors that contribute to harmful drug use.
As the economy emerges from the global financial crisis, there may be new opportunities to build partnerships with corporate and philanthropic organisations. Engagement with the broader community will also continue to be important both for informing policy makers, program managers and service providers and for providing feedback to the community on current directions and evidence, and the contribution they can make to reducing drug related harm.
The Strategy's governance arrangements currently reinforce partnerships between health, law enforcement and education and between Commonwealth and State/Territory governments. While this emphasis should be retained, continuing effort and innovation is needed to effectively engage other sectors and the community more broadly since the consequences of drug use are experienced by the whole community and an effective response can only be built on broad ownership of the issue.
Establishing links with other policy and program priority areas and a broader array of sectors and fields (for example primary health care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, youth services, homelessness, mental health, population health) will be important to ensure that the Strategy continues to be effective.