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ID: HR23-389
Presenting author: Gregory Taylor

Presenting author biography:

Gregory Taylor is the Reform Project Officer at the Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drug Council of Tasmania. He works for the empowerment of peers and people with lived experience to support the establishment of an independent organisation in Tasmania.

The Time is Now: The Establishment of an Independent Peer Organisation in Tasmania

Gregory Taylor, Lily Foster
Tasmania is the only state and territory in Australia that does not have a legitimate, funded, independent organisation for people with a living/lived experience of drugs. This is poised to change with a collective campaign from peers, people with living/lived experience, and the alcohol and drug sector leading to the Tasmanian Government prioritising the establishment of an independent ‘consumer’ organisation in its latest Reform Agenda for the sector.

There is no federated model for the independent peer organisations already established in Australia, and each has developed distinctively, even idiosyncratically, in its own environment, according to needs and the issues identified by its membership. The proposed model for Tasmania, however, is unique in a national (and possibly global) context in the sense that it not only provides a platform for people with lived experience of illicit drugs, but also for people with lived experience of alcohol. This proposed model, tailored for the size and culture of Tasmania, is regarded by the government and the sector as the most realistic chance of securing funding, remaining sustainable, influencing policy and treatment services, and impacting on Tasmanian communities.

This presentation, co-authored and co-presented by Greg Taylor and a Lived Experience Advocate, explores qualitative data concerning the journey toward the establishment of this organisation. It includes detail of the rationale and challenges of the model from stakeholder perspectives, the unusual pathway to its overdue establishment, and how people with different lived experiences across the licit/illicit spectrum may unite to forge the establishment of this organisation.