Northe calls for rehab centre

Member for Russell Northe is pictured with Chris Moody, who has a family member in rehabilitation at the moment. photograph heidi kraak

Member for Russell Northe is pictured with Chris Moody, who has a family member in rehabilitation at the moment. photograph heidi kraak

Member for Morwell Russell Northe is calling on the state government to fund a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in central Gippsland.

It comes after the state government committed $9.7 million for three centres, including one in Gippsland, last year.

However, the government has already committed at least $1.8 million per year to run a the Hope Restart Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre to be built near Bairnsdale.

Mr Northe visited ACSO Traralgon, an organisation that provides support for those struggling with drug and alcohol abuse and their families, where he met with more than 20 family members and industry professionals to discuss the need for a rehabilitation facility in the Latrobe Valley.

"What we are doing today is calling on the government to finally announce a location for a [central] Gippsland facility to be built," he said.

"It is something I am personally passionate about, but so many families and support services have been calling for this for a long period of time.

"I think the statistics back that up, that in terms of drug use and drug crimes and the amount of support and counselling services that are required in central Gippsland, that we finally need a facility constructed here in Gippsland."

Mr Northe said he was "pleased" to see the state government had committed the $9.7 million for the rehabilitation centres, as well as $40.6 million to fund the construction of three new 30-bed residential treatment facilities in Barwon, Gippsland and Hume, however, said there was "no clarity as to when and where in Gippsland this investment will occur".

"But it makes logical sense that it should be in the central part of Gippsland," he said.

"Drug offences in Latrobe in 2010 recorded 255 instances, yet in 2017 they more than doubled at 624.

"Many organisations including Latrobe Health Assembly, Latrobe City Council, Latrobe Community Health Service, Latrobe Regional Hospital and drug support agencies have all supported the call for more residential rehabilitation beds in our region."

For more see Thursday's Express.

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