IN the fight to combat the insidious drug ice in Central Queensland, Labor have announced a plan to "change the lives” of those effected and their families.
Responding heavily to the growing challenge of drugs in the region, Annastacia Palaszczuk's Labor government announced a huge investment to build a rehabilitation clinic unlike any other nearby.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga and Health Minister Cameron Dick today announced a $14.3m funding promise for a 42-bed residential rehabilitation facility for ice users in Rockhampton.
Minister Cameron Dick said the facility would give Rockhampton residents effected by ice a place of improved access with vital drug treatment services as he saw a clear need for it in CQ.
"I have heard many stories from individuals, families and communities about the devastating impact ice is having, particularly in regional and rural Queensland,” he said.
"There is a clear need for support to address this issue in CQ, and if re-elected, our government is committed to delivering this by constructing this much-needed facility.”
He said the funding would be split in two rounds with the total $14.3m being distributed over three years.
Site identification for the proposed Rocky facility and the initial $9.5m funding would be fast-tracked to ensure it would be constructed as soon as possible.
Minister Dick said the facility would comprise of 32 beds for rehabilitation, eight beds for withdrawal stage treatment and two family units which he said was essential.
"Families that are impacted by ice can stay together during the process, particularly families with children,” he said.
Minister Dick also said there would be capacity for non-residential day programs for people to come in and receive treatment.
He said the funding would also include staffing and operation of the facility was to be run by a non-government organisation similar to other alcohol and drug mental health services across the state.
Minister Dick credited Brittany Lauga for her strong fight to bring the severity of drug use in CQ to parliament saying she was an advocate for her community.
"Brittany brought the issue of ice and the impact on the community here in CQ directly to the government,” he said.
Mrs Lauga was ecstatic with the announcement saying she had listened to community members about the devastating effects of ice and delivered for her community.
"I was touched by the impact ice was having on people and their families and listened to their stories and tried and make a difference,” she said,
"And as a local member I did all I could and it's been something I've been fighting to get for a long time now.
"It's a real game-changer and I am really pleased that a re-elected Palaszczuk government will make this commitment.”
Labor candidate for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke was unable to attend the announcement as he was hard on the campaign trail, but agreed this was a welcome assest to the community.
"Everyone in our community wants to see local people affected by this insidious drug access treatment and get their lives back on track, and this facility is a gateway to their receiving the help they need,” he said.