Victoria Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge
Coalition Government Secures Funding For Alcohol And Drug Treatment Programs
Victor P Taffa
The Victorian Coalition Government has successfully reversed the federal Labor government’s decision to cease funding a number of vital drug and alcohol treatment services, Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said today.
Earlier this month the Federal Government announced funding for projects under the Commonwealth Non-Government Organisation Treatment Grants Program (NGOTGP). This resulted in 19 Victorian services missing out on funding they had previously received.
“The Victorian Government immediately wrote to Federal Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler, and made direct representations on behalf of services and to maintain Victorian funding as a whole.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
“As a result, 14 services that would have lost their funding under the NGOTGP have now been advised that they will be funded for a further three years.”
All together, 31 of the current 36 providers, plus a further two new services, will be funded under the program. It is also understood that total funding coming to Victoria will be maintained.
“The Victorian Government put a strong case for continued funding for vital alcohol and drug treatment services to the Federal Minister.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
“It is appropriate that Minister Butler has now reversed his original position and agreed to extend many valued programs.”
Ms. Wooldridge said Labor’s plan to direct almost $5 Million in funding away from Victoria would have resulted in a significant reduction in treatment services, waiting lists blowing out, an estimated 50 workers losing their jobs, and some services closing down.
“While the Victorian Government funds the majority of alcohol and drug treatment services, the Commonwealth’s contribution is important and we expect that to be maintained.” Ms. Wooldridge said.