A Liberals and Nationals Government will reverse the desperate shortage of drug rehabilitation services in regional Victoria, including in the Latrobe Valley, Mildura, Shepparton and Warrnambool.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy are in Warrnambool today to make the landmark commitment which will better support vulnerable Victorians at crisis point.
The plan will see at least 180 new alcohol or other drug (AOD) rehabilitation and withdrawal beds delivered at six new all-age treatment centres in the Latrobe Valley, Mildura, Shepparton, Warrnambool, Frankston and Melbourne.
Mr Guy said the shocking gaps in Victoria’s drug treatment support services were costing lives.
“There have been growing calls from local communities and health services to better support the most vulnerable Victorians, which is exactly what a government I lead will deliver,” Mr Guy said.
“The shortage of services is most difficult on those regional Victorians who – at a time when they need help the most – are forced to travel hundreds of kilometres away from their home and support networks.
“By delivering these life-saving new treatment services, close to home, an elected Liberals and Nationals Government will make sure every person has the very best chance to get their life back on track.”
Current data shows a critical shortage of AOD beds in Victoria. A ratio of 0.74 rehabilitation beds per 10,000 people puts Victoria the second worst in the nation.
The Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA), Windana, Odyssey House and the Salvation Army have all called for more AOD services, especially in regional Victoria.
Ms Kealy said the new plan supported Victorians from start to finish, by delivering both withdrawal beds and residential rehabilitation beds in a structured, health-based approach.
“Alcohol and drug addiction are complex, with far reaching impacts that affect not just individuals but their families, their friends and their communities,” Ms Kealy said.
“When struggling Victorians are ready to break the cycle, they deserve to have support available to help them, when they need it.
“Victorians must remember this November that only a change in government will deliver a truly health-based approach to treat drug addiction, to ensure every Victorian has the best chance to get their life back on track.”