Labor’s compulsory rehab plan ‘not funded says Govt

Chloe FraserBusselton Dunsborough Times

Labor and Liberals have traded blows over plans for a methamphetamine rehabilitation facility in the South West, with Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell saying a Labor plan unveiled this week would take years to set up and was neither costed nor funded.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan this week made an election pledge to open a rehab facility in the South West as part of the party’s Meth Action Plan to address treatment options for addicts, saying existing services could not keep up with demand.

“It’s clear that meth addiction is a huge problem confronting the South West,” he said. “There is a chronic shortage of beds for addicts that actually want to get help. These people can’t get the help they need now.”

Mr McGowan said plans for the new facility would include support services which would cater for the long withdrawal and recovery period and high relapse rate associated with methamphetamine use, but the location of the facility was to be determined after consultation with service providers.

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However, Ms Mitchell dismissed Mr McGowan’s plans, saying a new rehabilitation facility would take years to establish and would cost about $700,000 a bed.

“Like McGowan’s other announcements this week, his meth announcement has no details and is neither costed nor funded,” she said.

“If McGowan can’t say where the money is coming from, there’s no way it is going to happen.”

Ms Mitchell said Labor’s plans showed no commitment to continue existing community services or prevention programs, which were established by the current Government.

“The announcement also ignores the fact that most ice addicts do not recover in a residential treatment centre but in the community with the help of support services,” she said.

Ms Mitchell said the Liberal-National Government would open 16 new public treatment beds at a rehabilitation facility in Nannup this month.

Lina Pugh, founder of Bunbury-based support group Doors Wide Open, welcomed plans for a new rehabilitation centre in the South West and said the community was in “desperate need” of a local treatment facility.

“It can’t happen quick enough,” she said.

“One of the big things about sending your child to rehab is that they are isolated from their families, so it would mean they would remain close and in contact with us throughout the process.”

Ms Pugh said community support services were available in the South West but often came with an extended wait period.

“There is too much of a wait between the time addicts ask for help and the time help is actually available,” she said.

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