Rebekha welcomes drug treatment announcement

Rebekha welcomes drug treatment announcement

Drug treatment service providers working across Mayo have received a much-needed funding boost thanks to the $20 million funding package negotiated by Centre Alliance’s Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.

Nearly $800,000 has been granted to residential rehabilitation services in the Fleurieu and Onkaparinga areas, almost $1 million will go to youth programs and $150,000 has been allocated to workforce training.

“South Australia has one of the highest rates of methamphetamine use in the nation so it was incredibly important for Centre Alliance that we secure much needed extra funds for services in our State,” Rebekha said.

“That’s why we negotiated $40 million to address drug addiction issues part of the Government’s welfare reforms, as announced in the 2018/2019 Federal Budget.

“In addition to the $20 million in rehabilitation services for South Australia, the package includes $20 million to support GPs and other allied health professionals in regional and remote Australia to access professional development and specialist skills in addiction medicine.

“Based on need and demand for services, a competitive tender process within the drug rehabilitation sector has resulted in a range of important services being delivered across SA, including much-needed services in Mayo.

“I know from talking to our community how important it is to have access to services so I am pleased to see funds allocated to residential rehabilitation as well as a focus on early intervention and youth addiction services.

“This will have a positive impact on curbing drug use and will make a real difference to those families and communities who are grappling with addiction.”

However, Centre Alliance believes more needs to be done with Rebekha and her colleagues Senator Stirling Griff and Rex Patrick calling on the Federal Government to allocate $157 million from the ‘proceeds of crime’ funds towards the drug treatment services.

This unspent money came to light through questioning of the Department of Home Affairs by Senator Patrick at Estimates last month

“In recent years only two to three per cent of ‘proceeds of crime’ money is actually being spent on drug treatment notwithstanding the huge socioeconomic burden that addiction places on our communities,” Rebekha said.

“It is disappointing that millions of dollars are sitting unused in a Government bank account while so many people are struggling to access the treatment they so desperately need.”

Centre Alliance says the Government should set a minimum percentage of total money confiscated through proceeds of crime to be transferred into an account each year which drug and alcohol treatment providers can submit tenders to access.