State and Federal funding of more than $10 million for a new drug detox and rehabilitation centre in Dubbo is a major step forward for dealing with worsening drug-related over-representation in the criminal justice system, NSW’s peak body for councils said today.
LGNSW President Cr Linda Scott said the NSW Government’s announcement of the $7.5 million facility, plus $3 million from the Commonwealth, was a positive outcome after calls from councils and LGNSW.
“Today’s funding announcement is a rewarding outcome for Dubbo Regional Council and NSW’s western region and it is pleasing the NSW Government heeded our call regarding this issue,” Cr Scott said.
“Harmful drug use is a growing issue in the regions and has resulted in over-representation in the legal system because of a lack of diversionary programs outside the metropolitan area.
“This issue was raised at our LGNSW annual conference in October last year, when councils backed calls for greater NSW Government investment in initiatives such as detox and residential rehabilitation and treatment programs as alternatives to incarceration.”
Cr Scott said it was encouraging that the Government was showing support for regional solutions to the harm drugs were doing in the regions, something LGNSW had called for in its State Budget submission to the Government.
“Funding in the area of rehabilitation is critical. The Special Commission of Inquiry into the drug ‘ice’ earlier this year recommended a particular and urgent focus on expanding alcohol and other drug treatment and rehabilitation facilities across NSW,” Cr Scott said.
“Councils have been calling for State and Federal funding support to help address the critical shortage of medical specialists in the regions, which is an essential element in efforts to address drug-related health issues.”