Almost $6 million to fund local solutions to local Ice problem
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan was joined today by the Minister for Rural Health Senator Fiona Nash to announce $5.7 million to provide a range of services to tackle the scourge of ice in our community.
“Ice is playing havoc in many regional communities, including ours. The Government’s response to the Ice Taskforce will allow our community to tackle ice use head on,” he said.
“I have always advocated that local problems need local solutions and this huge injection of funds to the North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN) will allow it to roll out local programs that are specifically designed to combat the spread of ice in our community.
“Our local North Coast Primary Health Network will be funded to develop drug treatment services and help reduce the demand for this very dangerous drug.”
Speaking in Lismore at the announcement, Minister Nash said although delivery of such services has traditionally been the responsibility of state governments, the Federal Coalition Government had recognised the ice issue was urgent and acted.
"Kevin Hogan has lobbied me endlessly on this issue - with him, we ran a very well attended forum here in Lismore last year - and I'm so pleased we're delivering this funding," Minister Nash said.
"The scourge of ice often hits regional communities hardest.
"I have visited countless regional towns and spoken with hundreds of families grappling with the impact of this terrible drug - including here on the north coast.
"Local police, health workers and the National Ice Taskforce have all said we simply cannot arrest our way out of this problem.
"To break the drug dealer's business model, we have to smash demand for their terrible product.
"That's what we're doing by delivering funding via 31 local Primary Health Networks, to help people get off ice and reduce demand for this horrible drug."
Mr Hogan said the NCPHN had conducted a local-needs assessment to determine where there are gaps in services and from July 1 will start using this money to provide various rehabilitation services.
“This is an all-of-government approach. We must help users get off this drug while we crack down on dealers."
This approach was recommended by the Federal Government’s National Ice Taskforce led by the former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Mr Ken Lay APM. The Government asked the Taskforce to provide advice on the development of a National Ice Action Strategy.
As part of the Taskforce’s Community Consultation, Mr Hogan held an Ice Forum in Lismore and made a submission advocating for local solutions for local problems.