A drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation service in Dubbo is a step closer with a planning team in place, and more focused consultation with the community and stakeholders slated to begin in early 2022.
Last year, the NSW and Australian Governments made a $5 million commitment to build the new centre on land provided by Dubbo Regional Council. A NSW Government tender process will be used to appoint an operator to deliver the rehabilitation service.
Alanna Hinrichsen, Project Manager, for Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) Mental Health Drug and Alcohol said that after work in 2021 to finalise funding and identify site options, more detailed planning has commenced.
“This is going to be a great asset for people in our region who need support to address their harmful drug and alcohol use,” Ms Hinrichsen said.
“This is a substantial project, and we’ll be working closely with partners in health and other sectors to make sure it offers a service and environment that makes everyone feel safe, respected and gives them the best possible chance for their rehabilitation both in the centre, and as they return home.”
Vicky Scott, Dubbo & Region Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Hub Manager, added, “There are some great programs already operating in our region, but to have residential rehabilitation in Dubbo will really improve accessibility for people living in the north-west of the state.”
“We have a small team that includes Vicky Scott, and Donna Stanley, District Coordinator for Aboriginal Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol, which will focus on community and key stakeholder consultations in early 2022,” Ms Hinrichsen continued.
“Our goals will be to deliver a service that’s accessible, inclusive and culturally responsive, to develop a design that meets the needs of the range of people who will use the service, and to develop plans for withdrawal and rehabilitation that are clinical and medical best-practice.
“To achieve that we’ll need a lot of input from stakeholders, including the general community and people who have lived-experience of drug and alcohol withdrawal and rehabilitation.”
“In early 2022 we’ll be meeting – both in person and virtually – with those groups to capture their input. There will be more information about how individuals and groups can help inform our planning in 2022.”
Donna Stanley, WNSWLHD Coordinator for Aboriginal Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol said that being part of the planning team would help ensure the needs of Aboriginal people were kept front-and-centre of the planning process.
“This isn’t a service just for Aboriginal people, but it does need to be planned from the ground up to be a place that is safe for Aboriginal people, not just clinically, but culturally,” Ms Stanley said.
“Staying on Country, or close to Country, while making important choices that could change your life forever, can be a real incentive for Aboriginal people to come into rehabilitation. Being in Dubbo, along with the design of services and the Centre itself, will make this place something really special.”
It is anticipated that the Centre will start operating in 2023.