Thursday, 3 December 2015
Corangamite Electorate: Crystal Methamphetamine
Today I rise to make a desperate plea to my own government in relation to the scourge of ice in our community. Let me first say that the initiatives by our government in consultation with the states and territories, including the National Ice Taskforce, have been incredibly important in combating this dreadful drug addiction which is causing so much grief to so many families.
For many months now I have been speaking out for the need for long-term rehabilitation beds funding. Back in May in an article headed 'Henderson demands beds for ice addicts' I said that we have been crying out in the Corangamite community for more funding because we recognise that, without the tools in the community to combat the demand in relation to the drug, we are not going to overcome this. In contrast to the Victorian government, which seems to be only supporting community day stays, I have been fighting for many months for long-term rehabilitation funding. This is absolutely vital. It costs about double for someone to have a long-term rehabilitation bed compared to a day stay. But organisations in our region like Foundation 61, with Rob Lytzki, are doing an incredible job. To get over ice addiction can take up to six months or even more. We need that concerted, long-term rehabilitation to really make the difference.
There is no doubt that in our community ice is playing a major role in an increase in community crime. This is a huge issue across the Bellarine, across Geelong and the Surf Coast. I am delighted with our Safer Streets program, with $20 million to put into local CCTV, infrastructure to improve community lighting and other infrastructure to make our communities safer.
It is an absolute disgrace that in recent applications to the Victorian government not one community in my region was successful in obtaining funding for CCTV cameras. We have seen headlines like 'CCTV rejected', on the front page of the Ocean Grove Voice. In the Bellarine and places like Ocean Grove, traders are crying out for assistance and support. There has been a huge increase in the number of robberies of traders and break-ins of cars and local homes, and enough is enough.
I also want to put on record again my very deep disappointment that the state Labor government has breached a commitment to open the Queenscliff Police Station seven days a week. That was a commitment by Lisa Neville and Daniel Andrews. They have not delivered. The police station will be open four days a week over summer, and that is it. It is a breach of the commitment that was made to provide more policing on the Bellarine and across our region.
I want to commend the many people in my community who are working so hard to deal with issues of community safety. It was my pleasure to meet with the Ocean Grove Business Association recently to talk about how we might be able to give them the support they need to make the community safer. I also want to mention Tony Francis, a local police officer, and the work that he is doing with local community clubs, service groups and agencies to spread the word about what the community can do to combat the scourge of ice. I particularly want to pay tribute to Senator Fiona Nash, who, in June of this year, joined with me and many others in the community, to hold an ice summit. I am very pleased that the work that we are doing at a local community level is resonating, but what we need now, in contrast to what the Victorian government is doing, is a serious commitment to funding.
Ice is destroying many lives. There are people on the waiting list, waiting to get into Foundation 61 to receive the wonderful service that they provide. People are dying on the waiting list. We need more funding. Foundation 61 is looking for at least an extra $1 million. We need more funding for long-term rehabilitation beds and more funding for ice, drug and alcohol services. I am looking forward to our government's report on the National Ice Action Strategy about the action that we need to make our communities safer.