As we nudge closer to the Federal election, many of you may have already decided how you will vote and some of you may still be considering your choices.
Regardless of where you’re at in your decision-making process, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the commitments that are flowing from all parties. There is a jarring absence of support for alcohol, tobacco and other drug services and programs.
The ATDC is a member of the national coalition of health and welfare organisations, being led by St Vincent’s Health Australia. The coalition is lobbying for a significant increase in funding for alcohol and other drug treatment services across Australia.
In the lead up to the election to-date, neither party has made a major funding announcement for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs services in Tasmania, with the exception of a commitment from the current Australian Liberal Government to inject $6.3 million from the next budget into residential rehabilitation services in our north-west.
Investing funding into residential rehabilitation services has been a key focus for the past couple of years, and while the ATDC welcomes this investment in the north-west, there needs to be more investment across the state, and across treatment services areas. The lack of attention on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is concerning.
The ATDC continues to advocate for increased investment and an important aspect of this process has been our efforts to increase the visibility of the priorities and issues being faced by Tasmania’s alcohol, tobacco and other drugs sector.
If you find yourself speaking to one of your local candidates seeking election, ask them what they plan to do to ensure Tasmania has appropriate funding for evidence-based alcohol, tobacco and other drug treatment and education services.
If they appear unsure, direct them to us and we can give them information on a range of areas that require an immediate injection of Federal Government funding, such as:
- An additional 110 alcohol and other drug workers to meet existing service demand
- Urgent funding to support the Tasmanian Health Service Alcohol and Drug Services, with a particular focus on additional staff and services to remove existing waiting lists for pharmacotherapy services
- A commitment to ongoing funding for an independent organisation to represent Tasmanians experiencing alcohol, tobacco or other drug dependence issues and accessing services across our island
- The expansion of alcohol and other drug education and primary prevention activities, with consideration for how to increase support to local councils and our education system to respond to changing and emerging community alcohol and other drug issues
- A state wide campaign to address the unacceptable levels of stigma and discrimination that Tasmanians with alcohol and other drug issues are experiencing that are stopping them from accessing support.
- There is no absence of need for increased support for the Tasmanian alcohol and other drug sector. The ATDC will continue to bring attention to these issues, and we invite you to join us in helping our voice be heard.
Chief Executive Officer