Page 3437 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 October 2022
that we can do more to support those who are addicted to it by funding an increase in multi-disciplinary clinical staffing capacity in community based settings for methamphetamine treatment. This will enhance integrated services for methamphetamine dependence and co-occurring physical and mental health problems.
MR PETTERSSON: Minister, can you please outline how this year’s budget delivers services now and invests in the future of our community alcohol and other drugs sector?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for the supplementary question. He is right; this budget not only boosts services this year, but continues our planning for the future of the alcohol and other drugs sector in the ACT. As Mr Pettersson knows, and for the information of members, we currently invest more than $26 million every year in the alcohol and other drugs sector, but we are also delivering a plan for the future. This includes a plan to redevelop the Watson health precinct, including establishing the ACT’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific alcohol and other drug residential rehabilitation facility at the Watson health precinct.
It was only two weeks ago that I was with Julie Tongs, from Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services in Adelaide, at the health ministers Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander roundtable—a roundtable that I supported and advocated for in a national effort to reinstate—that was last held in 2018. This was an opportunity to present some of the innovative approaches that the ACT is leading, including delivering Aboriginal community-led health care in the Alexander Maconochie Centre. This project, in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residential rehabilitation facility, is another example. The $3 million investment in this year’s budget, which I announced in late July at the Watson site, will support the detailed design and planning work for this facility, as well as the redevelopment of the existing Ted Noffs and Catholic Care facilities.
It was a pleasure to be out at the Watson site on that day to hear from Lachlan Dean from Ted Noffs on the amazing work that they do and the excitement that they have for how transformative their co-designed new facility will be to help young vulnerable Canberrans get their lives back on track. It will be transformative for young Canberrans struggling with alcohol and other drug issues, with a new purpose-built facility to care for them and support them on their journey.
DR PATERSON: Minister, how does this budget build on the success of the first drug strategy action plan and the government’s multi-year investments to better support those who need it most in our community.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Dr Paterson for supplementary question, and for highlighting the ACT government’s nation-leading approach to harm minimisation over a number of years. The first ACT drug strategy action plan included 43 actions, of which the government completed or partially completed 42—this during a period that was impacted by COVID-19. We could only achieve this through our excellent partnership with what I think is the best community alcohol and drug sector in the country and the Barr government’s significant additional investment of more than $32 million in new alcohol and other drug treatment and harm reduction services over the life of the first drug strategy action plan.