IWC delivers health, wellbeing, family and community services.
IWC delivers health, wellbeing, family and community services. SImon Young

State Government funding is inadequate: IWC

THE allocation of $2.7 million from the State Government to tackle Bundaberg's crippling drug problem goes nowhere near what is needed, according to local organisation IWC.

The health and well-being centre says the residential rehabilitation facility they have been campaigning for is as far away as ever, despite this announcement last week.

"Providing $675,000 a year for drug and alcohol services in Bundaberg does not in any way address the vital issue of ice and other drugs in our region,” IWC CEO Ara Harathunian said.

Mr Harathunian's comments came after Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk made a visit to Bundaberg on Friday, announcing $2.7m over four years for Bridges Health and Community Care to reduce wait lists for alcohol and drug treatment in Wide Bay.

"As I have travelled across Queensland, I've heard many stories from individuals, families and communities about the devastating impact ice is having, particularly in regional and rural Queensland,” she said.

She said the investment was part of her government's Connecting Care to Recovery 2016-2021 plan to help meet demand for specialist alcohol and other drugs services.

Mr Harathunian said the funding would not address the issue in the way the community was seeking.

"This announcement is delivering what our community would get for AOD services despite an election campaign, and dancing around the edges of a devastating issue such as ice is not providing the solutions we need in our region. The community has spoken and it should be listened to by our politicians,” she said.

"IWC has a 30ha property just outside the CBD of Bundaberg which is equipped to be a residential rehabilitation facility, and we are happy to work with the government and other agencies and community groups to make this happen. This may not be the only option, but it is definitely an option on the table, and our community is awaiting government support and action.

"Such a facility will cost around $2 million a year to run. Plus, it needs to be funded for the long term, not just for a short period if we are to make a significant difference.

"We call on all political parties vying for the seat of Bundaberg to take the voice of the community seriously ... and not just apply BandAid approaches that deliver peripheral solution-seeking to what is a massive and devastating issue in our communities.”



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