A drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation program specifically for women and run by the people behind one of Australia’s most successful aboriginal service providers is set to become a reality.
The Liberal National Government has announced that The Glen at Chittaway will receive $9m in funding, including $4.5m to build the new facility and $1.5m a year for three years to cover operational costs.
The Glen services the Central Coast, Newcastle, Hunter Valley and the Greater Sydney region, and with more than 20 years’ experience in the rehabilitation field, it has a history of providing high quality drug and alcohol treatment services.
Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, said the government was committed to supporting Australian communities in their fight against substance abuse.
“I am delighted that as a result of our strong economy, the Government will build a rehabilitation centre specific to the needs of indigenous women, and one that is culturally appropriate,” he said.
Minister Hunt said data showed that over the past two decades, drug and alcohol problems for aboriginal women had been growing consistently.
A feasibility study was supported by a consultation process involving more than 400 women, including indigenous elders, and more than 40 organisations from community groups, peak bodies, research and service providers.
Strong advocate for the new service, Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, said: “I am beyond excited to be able to announce this incredible funding which will go such a long way towards helping women who might otherwise end up in prison or worse”.
“Over the past 12 months, I have worked closely with The Glen to ensure this project would become a reality,” she said.
“I am proud to be part of a government that recognises this funding is an investment, not an expense.
“It was long overdue.
“I have visited the Glen many times and I am absolutely confident that a holistic service specifically for women will deliver the same successful outcomes as achieved currently by the male service,” Wicks said.
Chairman of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Cr Roy Ah-See, said the new women’s centre would complement the successful work The Glen had carried out with men for the past 25 years.
He said the need was acute, considering the steep increase in aboriginal women being incarcerated in NSW.
According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics Research, the number of aboriginal women in prison has increased by 75 percent between 2011 and 2017.
“There are direct links between alcohol and drug misuse, poor health outcomes and incarceration,” Cr Ah-See said.
He said the new centre was the culmination of hard work by many people including the Ngaimpe Aboriginal Corporation, the Central Coast Aboriginal community, and Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks.
“This new centre will undoubtedly save lives and congratulations to all those people who worked hard to secure the funding to establish it.”
The Glen’s men’s centre is well established at Chittaway and a site for the women’s centre is yet to be determined.
Media release, Apr 8
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt,
Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks,
Liberal candidate for Dobell, Jilly Pilon
Media release, Apr 9
NSW Aboriginal Land Council