Today, the Andrews Labor Government has missed the opportunity to offer genuine support to Victorians battling to overcome drug addiction and minimise the impact of drug use on the broader community.
After months of sitting on an independent report by John Ryan into the North Richmond injecting room, Labor today announced that this facility, in its current location, will become a permanent service.
The issues with the North Richmond injecting centre location are undeniable and continue to have a detrimental impact on local amenity and community safety.
Despite these obvious concerns, the location of the facility was deliberately excluded from the scope of the Ryan review.
Leader of the Opposition, John Pesutto, said Labor’s arrogant decision today has failed vulnerable Victorians.
“The Liberals and Nationals support evidence-based solutions to help addicts break the cycle and live full, healthy and meaningful lives,” Mr Pesutto said.
“There is a better way forward. A safe injecting centre that provides genuine pathways to overcoming addiction located in a suitable area would benefit both users and the community.
“Sitting on this independent report until after the election and making a decision without consulting the North Richmond community is just another demonstration of Labor’s arrogance.”
Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Emma Kealy, said Labor has failed the community,which deserved to have its concerns heard before the trial became permanent.
“Despite Ryan’s report citing the community’s ‘deep concerns’ about its location, Labor is legislating for an injecting room to be permanently located next door to a primary school,” Ms Kealy said.
“The Liberals and Nationals have been consistent in our calls for the North Richmond facility to be relocated as it exposes our children to horrific scenes they should not have to witness.
“No child should have to walk to school past a dead body, see people having sex, drug deals or people injecting drugs, yet this is exactly what Labor accepts for West Richmond Primary School students.”