NATIONALS MPs have expressed disappointment that northern Victoria was overlooked in the allocation of additional residential rehab beds.
Member for Euroa and deputy leader of the Nationals Steph Ryan said the announcement ignored the needs of residents in northern Victoria.
“Considering how difficult it is to get access to a residential rehab facility in our area, Labor’s decision not to fund a single bed north of Heidelberg is incredibly disappointing,” Ms Ryan said.
“Labor has again overlooked successful local programs like that run by Odyssey House in Molyullah, which has a waiting list of several months. Some facilities in northern Victoria have reported waiting lists of up to a year. I have heard many firsthand stories from people who couldn’t access treatment when they were ready to go into rehab. By the time a place became available, they had fallen off the wagon and were caught in the vicious cycle of addiction.”
Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said country Victorians were hampered by having to travel long distances to access treatment.
“We have a chronic shortage of rehab beds in country Victoria compared with NSW,” Mr McCurdy said. “It is disappointing Labor has not listened to our region.’’
Shadow minister for mental health Emma Kealy said regional Victorians had some of the poorest access to residential rehab.
“Labor stripped funding for residential rehab allocated by Liberals and Nationals for three new residential rehab facilities in regional Victoria. It’s a shame it has taken a full three years for them to recognise that they made a mistake,” Ms Kealy said.