The Abbott Government’s decision to cut all funding for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council demonstrates how little this government cares about public health.
The Council was established in 1966 and has been involved in every major public debate about alcohol and drug throughout its decades of operation.
“This is simply not the government the Australian people voted for. The government can’t simply wish away the problems ADCA addressed. It has decades of policy and advocacy experience in this sector and the decision to abolish it beggars beliefs,” said Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King.
“The role of the Council in bringing together the hundreds of organisations in this sector cannot be replaced.
“The financial contribution the Commonwealth made was relatively small for its output, which is why this decision truly beggars belief.
“We know Mr Abbott and his colleagues have no time for the advice of public health experts, and this is patently clear from today’s decision.
“I wish to particularly pay tribute to David Templeman who had been CEO since 2006, particularly for his work on the National Illicit Drugs Campaign, where he often provided a voice for those who would not have had one. As a result of the Abbott Government, they no longer will.
“Should rates of alcohol abuse and illicit drug use rise in the future, this decision should weigh heavily on Mr Dutton. It is one I utterly condemn.”
Despite this government’s promise not to cut funding from health, we’ve already seen a backflip on the commitment not to close any Medicare Locals, confirmation that hundreds of public servants working on health policy will lose their jobs, and $100 million ripped from the Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.
This is a callous decision and one that should be reversed immediately.