darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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September 20, 2016

• The Federal Government is delivering $2.8 million for drug rehabilitation services in Gippsland.
• Funding will be delivered by the Gippsland Primary Health Network.
• The services will benefit communities across the Gippsland and McMillan electorates.

People in Gippsland whose lives have been affected by drug and alcohol abuse will benefit from $2.8 million in Federal Government funding for additional drug rehabilitation support.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester announced funding during the Federal Election campaign for the Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN) to improve treatment services for those affected by the drug ‘ice’.
He recently met with Gippsland PHN CEO Marianne Shearer and directors Duncan Malcolm and Julie Rogalsky, to discuss proposals under consideration including a rehabilitation day program, support for parents and carers of people misusing substances, indigenous-specific support, and an outreach service for young people aged 12-25.

Mr Chester said the PHN would seek feedback from primary healthcare professionals across Gippsland to help it tackle drug use.  The new services will be operational by the start of next year.

“In response to the National Ice Taskforce findings, the Federal Government is providing more treatment services to people who are affected by drugs, while also providing support for their families and carers, and breaking the business model for drug dealers,” Mr Chester said.

“The $2.87 million commitment to the Gippsland PHN will allow it to provide practical solutions it believes are best suited to our region, using local knowledge, and adapting to local trends in drug and alcohol abuse.

“While alcohol abuse remains a leading factor in health and violence problems in our region, the increased prevalence of ‘ice’ is extremely alarming and its affects are being felt in too many households and communities across our region.”

Ms Shearer said there was a need to address gaps in the delivery of drug treatment and rehabilitation in Gippsland.

“The feedback we are hearing from doctors and other primary health professionals across Gippsland includes a need for more education and prevention, and family support services for people affected by drugs,” Ms Shearer said.

“The Gippsland PHN’s role is to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time, and ensuring our doctors and front-line professionals have the tools they need to provide that care.

“We will continue to address gaps identified in the Gippsland PHN Needs Assessment following further review, engagement and consultation with regional stakeholders including Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, local services providers, Local Hospital Networks and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.”

The Department of Health requires commissioned services to be operational by 1 January 2017.

CAPTION: Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester with Gippsland Primary Health Network directors Duncan Malcolm and Julie Rogalsky, and CEO Marianne Shearer.


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