MEMBER for Mildura Ali Cupper has highlighted the “glaring gap” in residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in north-west Victoria during a speech to Victorian Parliament this week.
Ms Cupper urged the government to invest in a culturally appropriate, dedicated 30-bed residential rehabilitation service in the Mildura electorate given the high prevalence of suicide, mental health presentations, family violence rates and high drug and alcohol abuse figures.
“Other parts of Victoria have their own historical challenges and traumas too … But what sets those other regions apart from us is that they have the facilities to give their communities a fighting chance to break that cycle, whereas we do not,” she said.
“When you look at a map of drug and alcohol rehab services across the state you will see a glaring gap in the far north-west.
“We are a region that is furthest from Melbourne, that is four hours from Bendigo with no passenger train service since 1993 for affordable, efficient public transport for those who cannot afford to drive or fly, and there are a lot of people in that category.”
Ms Cupper highlighted Infrastructure Victoria’s draft 30-year infrastructure strategy which recommended a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre be built in the Mallee within five years, noting the above average presentations for drug and alcohol services.
She commended the Victorian Government for investing in new residential services in Corio, Wangaratta and Traralgon as well as its stated goal of having almost 500 rehabilitation beds across the State by the end of the year.
“We are very happy for those communities, but we are Victorians too, and it is clear that Mildura, not just by my very subjective, biased opinion but from those objective reports and research, needs a culturally appropriate, dedicated 30-bed residential drug and alcohol rehab service where we are,” she said.