MAJOR VICTORY FOR A DUBBO ALCOHOL AND DRUG REHAB CENTRE

Mayor of the Dubbo Region, Councillor Ben Shields congratulates and thanks the NSW Government on taking the final step to secure an alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre for the region after today’s announcement of $7.5 million boost to drug and alcohol treatment services, including a purpose-built facility for withdrawal management and residential rehabilitation.

Along with $3 million from the Australian Government for construction, the commitment of land from Council for construction of any future centre, and now the NSW Government’s funding to finally deliver a life-saving and life-changing facility, including recurrent funding for those services, what started as a business case is set to become a reality.

“The NSW Government should be commended for listening to the community, listening to the subject matter specialists in this field, more importantly, listening to those whose lives have been so deeply affected by alcohol and other drugs,” said Councillor Shields.  “This Council has vigorously advocated for a residential alcohol and drug rehab centre from the very beginning.  Today’s announcement really is the major step in the right direction for bringing this critically-needed service to the region.”

Council produced a comprehensive business case for the rehabilitation centre in 2018.  As part of the business case, Council also identified potential parcels of Council-owned land that could be provided as suitable locations for a centre. At the same time, the Australian Government, via federal member Mark Coulton MP’s efforts, committed $3 million for future construction costs for a centre.  Since then, Council has continued to lobby the NSW Government for the ‘missing link’ – a strong financial commitment and recurrent funding for the operation of a centre.

“It’s not Council’s role to run or fund specialised health centres like this,” said Councillor Shields.  “It is however Council’s role on behalf of motivated, heavily committed and driven community seeking such services to lobby governments for further support and funding.”

“That lobbying leading up to today’s announcement has seen Council commit resources to raising public awareness of the need for such a centre via a strong community campaign – supported by community groups, care providers and non-government organisations, affected families and those with lived-experience,” said Councillor Shields.  “The conversation has been spurred on through activities, like: Council establishing a Steering Committee into a drug and rehabilitation centre; giving a name and identity to the ‘alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre for Dubbo’ movement; driving open and sometimes difficult conversations through our live Q&A panels; partnering with key church and community groups to bring about attitudinal change and ‘buy-in’ from government; working closely with the indigenous community and other significant at-risk groups; and, driving a strong local media campaign to see what’s happened today become a reality.”

“All said and done, it has required a massive investment from the community, Council, the Australian Government, and NSW Government to make this happen.  The only people who can truly claim today as a ‘victory’ are those most vulnerable in our community.”

“Today represents community and all layers of government coming together to respond to a critical need.  Today shows people really do care about this significant issue.  Today very much marks the beginning of the next step of making an alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre a ‘doors open’ reality.”           

ENDS

Media Contact: Kellsey Galea | 0436 600 957

Last Edited: 09 Nov 2020

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