Grampians Community Health express access barriers for Wimmera people to new residential rehabilitation centre in Ballarat

Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley (right) visits the new Eureka drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre meeting Windana chief executive Anne-Maree Kaser (left) with Buninyong Labor candidate Michaela Settle (centre).

Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley (right) visits the new Eureka drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre meeting Windana chief executive Anne-Maree Kaser (left) with Buninyong Labor candidate Michaela Settle (centre).

THE state government will open a new residential rehabilitation facility in Ballarat later this year, but Grampians Community Health chief executive Greg Little said people in the Wimmera might still face barriers in accessing the facility. 

“Barriers include being away from family and friends during that period,” he said.

Mr Little said these barriers might also include the cost and ability to get to the facility by private or public transport. 

“I would love to see a residential rehabilitation facility in the Wimmera,” he said. 

To address access to residential rehabilitation facilities, with other facilities currently open in Geelong, Bendigo and Melbourne, Grampians Community Health run a home rehabilitation.

“The Making a Change program goes for eight weeks and is run at home,” Mr Little said. 

“This reduces the issue of transport and it means they have a support network of family and friends around them.” 

The most recent statistics from Turning Point said there were 34.5 hospital admissions for alcohol per 10,000 of the population in Horsham, whereas it was 44.4 per 10,000 of the population for the Northern Grampians and 39.3 per 10,000 of the population for Ararat. 

The facility in Ballarat is on track to open its first beds in October. 

Mental Health Minister Martin Foley toured the nearly completed facility in Ballarat last week. 

The first seven beds are due to open in October and the remaining beds by March 2019.

The state government estimates about 80 people will benefit from the facility each year. 

The number of residential rehab beds in Victoria has gone from 208 in 2014-15, to 450 beds in 2018-19. 

About 700 more people across the state will be able to access rehabilitation services each year, with the increase of residential rehab beds the state government said. 

The state government has spent $12.7 million on the 20-bed facility. 

The Victorian Budget 2018-19 included $6.7 million over four years to operate the new 20-bed residential rehabilitation facility in Ballarat. 

This follows the $6 million allocated in 2016-17 budget as part of stage two of the state government’s ice action plan for construction works to establish the residential rehabilitation facility.