Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs not a priority
The release of the 2019-20 State Budget has been received with an acute sense of disappointment from the Tasmanian community sector for the lack of investment in services and programs across the State.
This disappointment was captured by the comments of TasCOSS chief executive Kym Goodes, who stated that the 2019-20 State Budget ‘points to a government in denial to the reality Tasmanians see every day’ and that it is ‘the fifth infrastructure based ‘job creating’ budget we have had since 2014.’ The ATDC is aware of only one announcement for alcohol, tobacco and other drug services or programs, and we share the frustration of our members who continue to express concerns that the ever-growing issues in our sector are not being acknowledged or prioritised by our government.
We congratulate The Salvation Army who secured a funding commitment to supporttheir ‘Street Teams’ program. We know that this was a hard-fought commitment to ensure this successful program continues.
The ATDC was not successful in gaining a commitment for its 2019-20 Budget Priority Statement ‘Stronger Data: Better Outcomes’. This outcome was a significant disappointment given the very modest request for funding ($75,000) that would have been matched by Primary Health Tasmania. The Tasmanian Government were aware that an investment in this project would have leveraged additional Australian Government funding, and consolidated the collection of alcohol, and other drug data for our members, the community sector and the Tasmanian public service. This work would have strengthened our understanding of drug issues across Tasmania and provided government with the necessary information to ensure they are investing in the right services to meet demand. Information that the Tasmanian Government does not currently have.
We are in discussions with Primary Health Tasmania in the hope of retaining their $75,000 commitment, and in the coming weeks will seek clarity from the Tasmanian Government as to whether this Budget provides additional resourcing to Alcohol and Drug Services, which continues to operate under critical pressure. We will also be seeking assurances on how the Tasmanian Government will address the issues of under-resourcing and waiting lists and concerns regarding the AOD Reform Agenda and the ageing policy frameworks guiding our sector. If you have any questions regarding this process, or have any issues you’d like me to raise please contact me directly by email at email@example.com or via phone on 0450 517 017.