Rehab neglect

March 12, 2018

State Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has accused the Victorian Government of neglecting an election promise to fund residential rehabilitation centres across the Hume region.

In the 2017-18 state budget, the Victorian Government announced funding of $9.7million to buy land in Gippsland, Hume and Barwon to establish new residential drug-rehabilitation facilities.

In November last year, the Victorian Government was actively considering the proposed Brookfield drug and rehabilitation centre outside of Numurkah, but discussion about the project has halted.

Ms Lovell said 10 months had passed since the state government had announced the funding, but said Mental Health Minister Martin Foley had failed to make any announcement on land acquisitions.

‘‘The minister and the Andrews Labor Government are clearly not serious in tackling the scourge of drug addiction in regional Victoria, including the Goulburn Valley,’’ Ms Lovell said.

‘‘We are now on the cusp of a new state budget, but still the minister continues to drag his feet on this issue, failing... to build the rehabilitation services that are so badly needed.

‘‘I have asked the minister to provide the location of the land he promised to acquire to build a new residential drug-rehabilitation facility in the Hume region.’’

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said the state government already provided support for ‘‘a range of community-based treatment and support services’’ in Hume, which included assessment, counselling, non-residential withdrawal and care and recovery co-ordination.

Through the ice-action plan and the recent drug-rehabilitation plan, the government announced plans to fund 420 beds by 2020, with more than half of them to be based in regional Victoria.

Mr Foley said the Victorian Opposition had funded two residential rehabilitation beds in their four years of government.

‘‘We are continuing to plan for a new residential rehabilitation facility for the Hume region — one which gives local residents access to better treatment, while strengthening other local services,’’ Mr Foley said.

‘‘We’re also getting on with rolling out additional residential rehabilitation beds statewide to help Victorians battling addiction get the help they need.’’

It is unclear when an announcement will be made.

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