THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
THE HON LINDA BURNEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES
MEMBER FOR BARTON
NSW NEEDS REHAB OPTIONS, NOT TURNBULL’S DRUG TESTING TRIAL
The Turnbull Government must stop stigmatising welfare recipients and start properly investing in drug and alcohol treatment services.
Drug and alcohol treatment services are overstretched and struggling to keep up with demand – and as a result many services are being forced to close their waiting lists and turn people away.
Reports indicate that there are 32,000 requests a year for Australia’s 1,500 residential rehabilitation beds, with waiting times for residential services reaching up to six months in some cases.
Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare Catherine King and Shadow Minister for Human Services Linda Burney today visited Odyssey House’s Admissions and Intake Centre in Redfern to hear firsthand about the pressures services are under, and the need to invest in treatment.
“Rather than boosting treatment services, the Turnbull Government is demonising vulnerable Australians and ignoring all the advice of the health experts,” Ms King said.
“NSW has just 1.1 beds per 10,000 people which can lead to waiting times of several months. This causes help-seekers to miss out on vital services, or to seek treatment in the expensive and poorly regulated private sector. The Government’s ill-considered trial doesn’t take any of this into account.”
“Nobody doubts that we face serious issues with drug addiction in the community, but the Government’s welfare testing trial isn’t a good option,” Ms Burney said.
“Experts have been clear that this trial could adversely impact the medical treatment and rehabilitation of people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. We need to help services keep up with demand, instead of putting more pressure on the sector.”
Today’s visit is another reminder that Mr Turnbull must stop playing politics and commit to meeting the treatment needs of help-seekers around Australia.
WEDNESDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 2017