ADDICTION RECOVERY CENTRE PROPOSAL
I am writing to express my concern at the proposal by ACSO (Australian Community Support Agency) to establish and run a 48 bed Addiction Recovery Centre in a small rural community, 7km from Wunghnu and 8km from Numurkah.
We do need these facilities, but unless we ‘get it right’ I fear it has the potential to turn into a catastrophe for local communities and close neighbours.
The proposed site is in a rural farming zone. There is no town water, no natural gas, no sewerage and no public transport. Access is via gravel roads. The closest emergency department is GV Health, a 25 minute drive away. Numurkah Police Station is not manned 24 hours a day.
Clients will be free to leave if they choose. Neighbours fear for their safety and security.
ACSO has informed us they will take clients from the criminal justice system. They will come from the entire Hume Region. We understand that most of the clients will have “multiple health and social problems” in addition to their addiction issues.
We already have a serious shortage of alcohol and other drug services in and around Shepparton. GV Health emergency department often has lengthy wait times.
It is difficult to get a same day medical appointment.
How is the local community expected to support the influx of at least another 350 addicts and their associates into our area each year? Who will provide much needed ongoing support to these addicts when their rehab is finished?
Most of us have to travel for specialist treatment. Why is this any different?
In September 2015 the ombudsman completed an investigation into rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners, in which he outlined the need for these types of facilities to be situated geographically and demographically to ensure stronger links to community service organisations.
Such centres need to be located closer to larger cities, where there are more support agencies, better employment opportunities, where they are closer to emergency services and where there is police back up closer to hand. Wunghnu is not the place.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT WOMEN CANDIDATES REQUIRED
There is only five months until the October Greater Shepparton City Council election, which has nine positions available to nominate for a role in strategic planning and sound decision making for the best planned services for our broad and diverse local community.
Interested women should consider nominating for this equal opportunity to provide an important gender balance that has not been the case since the first Greater Shepparton election in 1997. Equal gender representation is most necessary on all boards and organisations that affect our social, economic and environmental outcomes.
Cr Jenny Houlihan, the longest serving Greater Shepparton female councillor, and Cr Fern Summer have demonstrated that the work, though considerable, can be accomplished within the time commitment necessary to do a great job. The term of government is four years.
Our population is rich in diversity and all women with an interest in providing a voice for our community can attend an election information session to be held on Wednesday, May 11 at the Shepparton Senior Citizen’s Centre, 122-132 Welsford Street, Shepparton from 6pm to 8pm. Finger food and refreshments will be provided. To RSVP, phone 5832 9479.