The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has called on the State Government to urgently provide matching funding to the Hope Restart Centre so vital drug and alcohol rehabilitation services can commence as soon as possible.
Mr Chester last month announced $3 million from the Federal Government toward construction of the Hope Restart Centre on 20 acres of farmland adjoining the Princes Highway at Lucknow, near Bairnsdale.
The drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre would target patients from the Latrobe Valley, Wellington, Bass Coast, West Gippsland, South Gippsland and East Gippsland shires, providing an alternative to going to Melbourne or Canberra for help.
Mr Chester has written to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews seeking bipartisan support for the important project, which is being led by the local community, urging him to commit matching funds as a priority.
“To waste time searching for alternative sites would force delays of up to two years,” Mr Chester said.
“The Hope Restart Centre has already been through the planning approval process, with land sourced and plans ready to go.
“This project is being undertaken in partnership with Odyssey House, which will provide therapeutic services.”
Mr Chester said the Hope Restart Centre would help to meet a desperate need in Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley for residential rehabilitation beds.
“Most people in Gippsland would have a friend, family member, or know someone who has been impacted by drug and alcohol addiction. People want all levels of government to take action.”