The push for a dedicated drug and rehabilitation centre in Mildura gained momentum in Victorian Parliament this week.

Reason Coalition leader Fiona Patten tabled a motion in the Legislative Council calling on the Victorian Government to fund a 12-bed drug and rehabilitation service for Mildura in the 2021-22 State Budget.

Ms Patten said the urgency for a service had been laid bare during her Reason Coalition tour with colleague and Member for Mildura Ali Cupper in the Mildura electorate this month.

“Ali and I had a series of meetings with healthcare providers, Indigenous elders and others whose lives have been adversely affected by alcohol and other drugs,” Ms Patten said.

“They had powerful stories to tell about their issues, but also about how the lack of services in the Mildura electorate also hindered rehabilitation efforts.”

Ms Patten and Ms Cupper this week met with Odyssey House Victoria representatives about becoming a partner in a Mildura facility and will meet with Minister for Health Martin Foley soon to discuss the issue and Budget bid.

“The need for a drug and rehabilitation service in Mildura has been widely known for a long time,” Ms Cupper said.

“There have been several reports – including Infrastructure Victoria’s draft 30-year infrastructure strategy released late last year – which have outlined high proportion of people in the Mildura region needing drug and alcohol treatment.

“A culturally-appropriate, dedicated service in Mildura will save lives, unify families and alleviate pressure on other organisations, in particular the Mildura Base Public Hospital, as well as other regional health providers.
“The closest residential withdrawal facilities are in Adelaide, Bendigo or Melbourne – which are all more than 400km from Mildura.”