BREAKING: LNP commits to drug rehab facility in Bundy
FIRST it was a water park, then a new hospital and now the state LNP says it will build a drug rehabilitation facility in the region if elected on November 25.
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said an LNP government would commit to establishing a dedicated multi-bed drug and alcohol treatment centre in Wide Bay as part of its plan to "provide safe and liveable communities”.
The state-of-the-art facility will enable Bundaberg drug users to access counselling and programs to help them integrate back into society.
The announcement forms part of the LNP's $52.21 million action plan to get ice off our streets.
"Wide Bay will be one of the four regional centres that will receive a dedicated treatment facility to help people kick their drug and alcohol habits and provide them with ongoing support,” Mr Nicholls said.
"This drug doesn't discriminate and has devastating impacts on users, their families and friends, and the community.”
The promise is welcome news for Bundaberg and a boost to an 18-month long campaign by the NewsMail and health and well-being organisation IWC to Break the Ice in the region.
At the beginning of the campaign, IWC's Lee Hammond said about 50% of her clients were being referred because of ice addiction. She said a decade ago it was marijuana and alcohol, but the cheapness of ice and ease of production were seeing it skyrocket.
She said unlike other drugs, users were realising far more quickly that they needed help because the impact of the drug was so devastating.
The LNP has yet to decide on a location for the facility, however the IWC already has a ready-made site.
The news follows Labor's commitment this week to invest $16.4 million across the state to tackle ice and reduce wait lists for alcohol and drug treatment.
As part of this funding, local group Bridges Health and Community Care will receive $2.7 million over four years.
Mr Nicholls said there was a need for a comprehensive approach to the problem.
"Rather than the endless reviews and talkfest, strong action is needed now.”
TWO-YEAR CAMPAIGN MAY FINALLY SEE RESULTS
IWC CEO Ara Harathunian has welcomed the promise by the LNP, saying the community had spoken loudly on the issue of ice and other drugs in the region.
"IWC has facilitated a local voice on the solutions we need as a community around the devastating impact of ice and other drugs,” he said.
Mr Harathunian said after the 2016 Bundaberg Region Community Ice Forum, hosted by the IWC and the NewsMail, in which 46 organisations and more than 80 delegates participated, a residential rehabilitation facility was identified as a priority.
He said delegates came from some of the community's frontline services who were facing the growing epidemic at a grassroots level, including police, ambulance, schools, the hospital, pharmacies, government agencies and businesses.
"Everyone had equal voice and equal voting rights when it came down to action planning and identifying what the community saw as the best solutions for our needs,” he said.
"The priority action identified by the delegates was for a residential rehabilitation facility in the Bundaberg region.
"IWC is pleased to see that the voice is being listened to.”
Mr Harathunian said the IWC had offered its Home Farm at Calavos as a potential site for the rehab facility. It was formerly the Yaamba Drug and Alcohol Hostel for Men.
"This offer is still on the table.
"Many regions would not have a suitable site immediately available, but IWC is committed to supporting people with substance abuse issues in our region and we would place this facility - which has 30 acres and a range of accommodation, workshops and other facilities - in the mix to get speedy action around developing and delivering a suitable residential rehabilitation facility that would be here for all in our community,” he said.
NEWSMAIL UNASHAMEDLY BEHIND LNP PUSH FOR REHAB
NewsMail editor Craig Warhurst shares his thoughts after leading the Break the Ice campaign for two years.
NEWS the LNP has promised a drug rehabilitation unit for Bundaberg is a good one for the region.
The NewsMail has been fighting alongside the IWC to get a rehabilitation unit in Bundaberg for nearly two years now.
The NewsMail and the IWC joined together to host Bundaberg's first ice forum to work on solutions to the problem.
It was agreed a rehab unit was one of the best ways to fight the issue and save our children from the drug.
Ice is dangerously addictive.
You just have to spend a day in the Bundaberg court system to see the damage it is doing in the community.
Killings, violence, home invasions and robberies are all fuelled by the need to get the drug.
Jails are overcrowded with ice users and the number of intervention programs to help users are maxed out.
The LNP is the first party to support the NewsMail's view on this problem and we support the plan.
Saying that, we would also support a Labor plan to build a rehab unit in the region.