Spilt Milk Festival Cancels Aussie-First Pill Testing Trial

Written by Zanda Wilson on October 12, 2017

Spilt Milk 2017 will no longer see the first instance of legalised pill testing in Australia, with festival organisers announcing today that they will be unable to facilitate the testing this year.

In a statement, festival organisers Kick Entertainment say the reason they’ve had to cancel the pill testing is because STA-SAFE, the organisation set to run the testing, failed to submit crucial documents ahead of the operation.

Organisers say STA-SAFE failed to submit an operational plan, risk assessment, insurance and legal framework for the pill testing trial on time, and as a result Spilt Milk was forced to submit its operation planning to the NCA without pill testing attached.

Dr David Caldicott of STA-SAFE has denied that they had been slow in submitted any documentation on triple j‘s Hack program.

“As far as I know we provided all documentation necessary,” he said. “We haven’t been consulted, we really don’t know what this is all about.

In their statement, Spilt Milk organisers say they’re “disappointed” that pill testing won’t take place this year, and are hopeful it can take place in 2018. Read the statement in full, below.

Spilt Milk Statement On Pill Testing Withdrawal

It is a tough day when something you have advocated for so strongly can’t quite make it over the line.

Since the ACT Government’s progressive announcement that pill testing would be conducted by STA-SAFE at this year’s Spilt Milk event, we have been awaiting STA-SAFE’s operational plan, associated risk assessment, insurance and legal framework for their trialling of pill testing on federal land.

With these items not yet received, and Spilt Milk just six weeks away, we had to submit 2017 event operation planning without STA-SAFE’s pill testing to the NCA, the owner of the land on which Spilt Milk takes place. We had to do this to ensure everything necessary was in place for the event to take place on the 25th of November.

Unfortunately, what this means is that pill testing is not able to be trialled at this year’s event. We are hugely disappointed as Spilt Milk strongly supports pill testing as a harm minimisation measure, but we would be more disappointed for this hugely complicated and important issue to be handled incorrectly and result in a trial that doesn’t institute change in Australia.

We know that STA-SAFE has, and will continue to work tirelessly on this important initiative. Without their commitment and resilience, this initiative would not have progressed as far as it has in Australia. We hope it can take place in 2018 with just a little bit more time.

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