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Red tape keeps methadone clinic in Ipswich's new-look CBD

CITY workers will be mixing it with drug addicts on Brisbane St, as they wait for a CBD methadone clinic's afternoon opening time during the lunch-time rush.

As the first of 1200 public servants have moved into Icon Ipswich, concerns are growing that a methadone clinic may be turning business away from the rejuvenated Ipswich city.

Concerns have been raised that the CBD may have outgrown the Ipswich Dosing Centre's location directly opposite Icon Ipswich.

The clinic opened five years ago and councillor Andrew Antoniolli believes a number of empty shop fronts either side of the clinic is evidence it has scared off business owners.

"It's had a negative impact in this area. Many of the businesses have told me of the negative impacts," he said.

But the centre's owner, pharmacist John Ward says the clinic is preventing crime in Ipswich. He said the $5 methadone treatment his clinic offered prevented heroin addicts from having to support drug habits ranging from about $200 a day.

Mr Ward's clinic passed Queensland Health regulations requiring a potential location for a methadone clinic to be advertised for 28 days.

Mr Ward said once methadone treatment began the need for drugs ended.

"This is a centre that stops crime. If Cr Antoniolli doesn't want it here where should it go?" he said. "The people that come here are not junkies anymore. They lead quite normal lives."

Cr Antoniolli is calling for the Newman Government to review how methadone clinics are licensed.

Mayor Paul Pisasale says council's hands are tied and the clinic can't be moved.

But a spokesperson for acting Health Minister Scott Emerson said it was squarely a council issue.

"Ipswich City Council is responsible for zoning of areas within the CBD and as this is a private business any changes to the zoning would require consultation with all the businesses in the vicinity," they said.

Topics:  icon ipswich



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