Federal funding boost for drug and alcohol treatment services

Assistant Health Minister and Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie, North Coast Primary Health Network chief executive Dr Vahid Saberi and Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker at the showcase of mental health, alcohol and other drug treatment services.

Assistant Health Minister and Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie, North Coast Primary Health Network chief executive Dr Vahid Saberi and Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker at the showcase of mental health, alcohol and other drug treatment services.

Local solutions are addressing community needs for drug and alcohol-related services thanks to federal government funding.

Service providers gathered at Rydges Port Macquarie on October 11 for a showcase of mental health, alcohol and other drug treatment services.

The federal government is investing more than $3 million during 2017/18 in alcohol and other drug treatment services and programs across the North Coast.

And over three years, the Commonwealth funding will total $5.5 million.

The funding, distributed through North Coast Primary Health Network, has resulted in eight service providers delivering a variety of services from Port Macquarie to Tweed Heads to fill gaps in early intervention, treatment and education.

Assistant Health Minister and Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie spoke about local decisions and local control for local solutions and local care delivery.

Dr Gillespie said the federal government was investing $3.19 million in the North Coast Primary Health Network  to commission drug and alcohol treatment services, in line with local needs.

This includes annual funding of $1.9 million allocated as part of the National Ice Action Strategy.

The federal government is providing an additional $194,000 annually in direct funding to the North Coast for residential treatment services.

Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker spoke about the drug and alcohol problem among young people.

He said a major factor in long-term unemployment was drug, alcohol and mental health problems.

“The work you are doing through local solutions to local problems is so vitally important,” Mr Hartsuyker said at the showcase.

The North Coast Primary Health Network is commissioning about $6 million of new mental health, alcohol and other drug services.

North Coast Primary Health Network chief executive Dr Vahid Saberi said the Commonwealth’s commitment to local problems, local solutions was critical.

Dr Saberi said money followed providers and clinicians in the Australian health care system.

“We have to change that,” he said.

“We’ve identified where there are gaps together and funded ways of taking providers to those places.”

The programs include a day stay program for people who can’t access residential rehabilitation, such as sole parents with young children.