Today the Andrews Labor Government will slash 100 jobs from services to help people addicted to alcohol or other drugs as part of a $39.8m funding cut inflicted on the completely-overwhelmed sector.
The timing of these Labor cuts couldn’t come at a worse time.
New data released today by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) revealed a shocking increase in alcohol and drug abuse, both in regional Victoria and in Melbourne.
The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Report found harmful use of illegal drugs ketamine, heroin and the amphetamine MDA are destroying the lives of Victorians more than anywhere else in the nation.
Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy said the Labor Government’s $39.8 million cut to treatment and prevention programs was the wrong move.
“More Victorians are struggling with drug addiction at a time when there’s unmatched pressure on the system. It leaves a big question mark over people’s access to timely, adequate support,” Ms Kealy said.
“Workforce shortages are leaving too many Victorians who are seeking treatment to get off drugs turned away from life-saving support which will help them get back on track.
“Every Victorian who has a family member who can’t get AOD support and care must remember in November the harms of Labor’s lockdowns and isolating restrictions, made worse by Labor’s cruel cuts to the vital AOD workforce and support.”
The ACIC analysed wastewater in December 2021 and February 2022, finding an increase in average consumption of Ice, cocaine, MDMA, ketamine, nicotine and alcohol in all 10 sites monitored across the state.
It also found that Victoria recorded the second highest average regional or capital city consumption of nicotine, methylamphetamine and cocaine.
Ms Kealy said a Liberals and Nationals Government, elected in November, will deliver new, practical solutions to boost the mental health workforce.
“We’ll implement the nation’s largest recruitment drive which will see thousands of scholarships and relocation support packages offered to get more people into Victoria’s mental health system as soon as possible,” Ms Kealy said.
“Extra training places will also be made available for psychiatrists and psychologists so they can get to work helping vulnerable Victorians, sooner.
“We have a responsibility to do more for Victorians before they reach crisis point.
“Key to this is making sure there’s enough psychologists, counsellors, GPs and mental health experts to deliver a boosted workforce that is properly resourced to recover and rebuild Victorians good mental health.”