Thursday, 18 February 2016
GOULBURN ICE ADDICTION TREATMENT SERVICE
Ms PRU GOWARD (Goulburn—Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Medical Research, Assistant Minister for Health, Minister for Women, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault) [5.19 p.m.]: This afternoon I bring to the attention of the House our Government's commitment to tackling the insidious drug ice in my electorate of Goulburn. As we in this House know all too well, ice is a destructive drug. It rips apart families and the lives of users across New South Wales. Sadly, people and families in rural and regional communities have felt isolated and unsupported, with distances to treatment services a major barrier to seeking help.
I am thrilled to inform the House that the experienced Directions ACT was named the successful tenderer to run the treatment program, in partnership with the incomparable Ted Noffs Foundation, which will provide specific responses to youth with ice addiction. The mobile outreach program will target Yass, Collector, Gunning, Crookwell and Braidwood and be flexible to need. Some of those communities are very small, and until now they have had nowhere to turn.
Having attended forums in Goulburn and Bowral, and speaking with too many families who have been devastated by ice, I believe this service could not have come at a more crucial time for our region. As Leigh Pollack, the mother of an ice user, bravely told a hushed 230 people gathered in St Saviour’s hall, her daughter’s ice use had ripped into the heart of her family. Her husband, daughter and grandchildren have been deeply shaken. I acknowledge Leigh's courage, and the commitment of Leigh and her husband to their family. I think of so many others who have long struggled to find the right support.
The new service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is mobile and flexible and works in conjunction with police, government agencies and hospitals, which is vital to tackling the ice scourge. I take a moment to acknowledge our local police, who do such a great job of assisting the community to tackle this issue. I acknowledge our front-line nurses and hospital staff, community services staff, the staff of non-government organisations, and families who stand by users. I look forward to this program starting in the next few months and to seeing the benefits of it throughout the Southern Tablelands.