Labor’s alcohol and illicit drugs policy spokesperson, Stephen Jones, and Labor’s candidate for Herbert, Cathy O’Toole, today announced that a Shorten Government would invest $5 million in the Salvation Army Youth Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation and Detox Centre.
Families across northern Queensland are feeling the effects of the drug ice, with the number of people seeking help for amphetamine addiction in Townsville rising by 165 per cent since 2010.
Stephen Jones said that the new funding announcement would help families in northern Queensland impacted by ice and other harmful illicit drugs.
“Outside of Brisbane there is a real shortage of available treatment services across Queensland for people trying to turn their lives around.
“There is no drug and alcohol detox facility north of Brisbane, with people requiring this treatment sent away to places as far as Melbourne. There is no youth residential service anywhere in Queensland.
“The Salvation Army’s Townsville facility has had to turn people away who desperately need help.
“The Palaszczuk Government has dedicated $6 million for health programs to help communities struggling with ice addiction, with $1 million specifically for this project. The Salvation Army has also made a commitment of up to $3 million as well. This coupled with Labor’s funding will mean new drug and alcohol intervention teams will be set up at Townsville hospital.
“Now we can announce that Federal Labor will provide $5 million to the Townsville Salvation Army Youth Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation and Detox Centre.
“This funding will assist the Salvation Army in significantly expanding its facility to provide 21 more beds, a youth service and detox treatment.
"Labor committed to this funding in 2013 and the Coalition had three years to act but didn't. We call on them to match it now.
“When people put their hand up and say they want to turn their lives around we need to get around them and get them into treatment right away. Labor is making that happen - we understand the impact that drugs like ice are having across the state.”
Cathy O’Toole said that the funding would make up for the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s neglect of the area.
“Ewen Jones has done absolutely nothing to tackle the issue of ice and other drug use, which is tearing apart families in Townsville and across northern Queensland.
“This is typical from the Abbott-Turnbull Government. They have made lots of noise about tackling the ‘ice epidemic’, but they have delivered little.
“Over three Budgets they have ripped almost $1 billion from the Health Flexible Funds, which includes funds supporting drug treatment services and prevention strategies.
“Those services which rely on federal NGO Treatment Grand Program funding have only been handed temporary, one-year contract extensions. They are operating in a state of uncertainty, unable to plan for the future and invest in the services they offer.
“We can’t hope to arrest the ice epidemic if there aren’t treatment services there for the people who need them. That is why this $5 million commitment is so important.
“The Abbott-Turnbull Government has remained flat footed, only Labor has a plan to help communities in Queensland affected by ice use.”