The regional city of Dubbo in central-west New South Wales is set to receive funding for a new drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, which has been welcomed by the head of the state's peak Aboriginal legal organisation.
This week, the state government announced it would direct $7.5 million to build a "first of its kind" drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for the region.
Aboriginal Legal Service CEO, Karly Warner, said it was welcome news for the Aboriginal community who could receive the help and support they needed without having to leave country.
“It is critical that we put an end to postcode injustice and ensure Aboriginal people across the entire State are provided with access to the critical services they need to thrive,” said Ms Warner.
“We know that without appropriate and timely rehabilitation and adequate diversionary programs, Aboriginal people proactively seeking treatment are forced into the criminal legal system, taken away from the love and support of their families and communities.”
Ms Warner said the ALS is also continuing the call for a Drug Court to be established in Dubbo, instead of criminalising people with an addiction.
“The evidence shows us that diverting our people from prison and providing intensive health and social support, improves outcomes not only for individuals but also the whole community,” she said.
Between 2013-14 and 2016-17, hospital data showed the rate of methamphetamine-related hospitalisations in the Western NSW LHD for people aged 16-years-old and over more than doubled.
In a statement, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottett said the state government was delivering on its commitment to provide the Dubbo community with the new centre.
“This $7.5 million investment in drug and alcohol treatment for Dubbo is on top of a significant investment in the 2020-2021 Budget to tackle the challenges of addiction across this state,” said Mr Perrotett.
“The devastation can have a ripple effect throughout the community and we want to break that cycle.”
Deputy Premier, John Barilaro said the drug and alcohol treatment centre is the first of its kind in the Central West and would help to bridge the gap in health services between those living in the city and those in the bush.
“Addiction doesn’t identify postcodes and regional communities suffer the same health and social problems created by drugs as those in the city,” said Mr Barilaro.
“People in the bush deserve access to the best quality healthcare and this centre will genuinely change lives for those people living in our regional communities who have been directly or indirectly affected by the impacts of substance abuse.”
The announcement is ahead of the New South Wales budget which will be handed down next week on Thursday.