Milbi chief executive Lloyd Willie.
Milbi chief executive Lloyd Willie. File

Detox centre expansion cash ready

MILBI, the indigenous detox centre at Etna Creek, has had $650,000 in the bank for two years to fund its planned expansion.

The detail is revealed today in a Rockhampton Regional Council report on a meeting held last month to discuss the organisation’s controversial plans. It also covers ways to allay fears expressed by neighbours funding an appeal to the Planning and Environment Court in an effort to thwart those plans.

Milbi’s chief executive Lloyd Willie told the meeting the funding had been secured to build a further 10-bed house at the farm, taking the maximum number of residents being cared for at the facility to 29.

Although the organisation had the funding in place, and the application had been approved by the council, he said the expansion was on hold pending the legal action by a group of about 20 Etna Creek families who had campaigned against the proposals.

One of the campaigners, Jeff Leaver, said yesterday an incorporated association had been formed and $150,000 had been raised to pay for the application to the Planning and Environment Court.

“We remain 100% committed to the fight,” he said. “It’s a massive amount of money for a small group of people to raise, especially as many of the residents are retired. But the appeal has been lodged and we are all waiting to find out where and when the case will be heard.”

Julie Hill, a psychologist employed by Milbi, told the meeting organised by Mayor Brad Carter – and boycotted by all Etna Creek residents - in the past Milbi residents had not been screened for criminal histories but there were now stringent regimes in place. Anyone with a violent history was excluded.

The meeting was told there had been only 17 complaints from neighbours over 25 years and no serious crime reports involving the 91,000 individuals who had been treated and counselled there in that time.

Mr Willie said the centre had been free of alcohol for the past two years.

But a number of complaints to the council from residents opposed to Milbi’s expansion were also presented to the meeting.

These alleged there had been problems with naked people roaming streets, people entering property and demanding money, drunken behaviour and people lying in the road in an attempt to stop cars in order to get a lift into Rockhampton.

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