Tasmanian ice addiction funding delayed until at least 2017

Federal Government funding to combat ice addiction will not be distributed to Tasmanian services until at least 2017, the group tasked with allocating the money has said.

But the supervisor of a Tasmanian rehabilitation service has warned it will have to turn people away because of the funding delay.

The ice taskforce has allocated $1.9 million per year in Tasmania over three years to Primary Health Tasmania (PHT), a not-for-profit group which is part of a national network tackling ice addiction.

PHT will not be in a position to reveal which services will be funded until January.

Chief executive Phil Edmundson told 936 ABC Hobart identifying which services needed the funding most was a complex process.

“I certainly do understand the sort of anxiety that exists around this, but this is a significant amount of public money and we’ve got to make sure that it is spent properly,” he said.

“We’ve got to make sure that it’s getting to the areas most in need, not just to the squeakiest wheels.”

Mr Edmundson said PHT was working with the Health Department to identify where the demand for services was most pressing.

“We’re going through a complicated process at the current time because we want to make sure we get the investment right for Tasmania,” he said.

Methamphetamine, otherwise known as Ice
Methamphetamine, otherwise known as Ice

Delay harms people in distress, service provider says

Janette Jensen, from Serenity House rehabilitation centre, said she could not understand the delay in allocating funding.

“I’m sure that there are good and valid reasons for taking their time, and while I can see that, as long as I have to turn people away that are in need I am going to think that the process needs to be sped up,” Ms Jensen said.

“When I have a family in dire distress and a child that I can’t help, then there’s nothing more urgent than that. And I’ve had that this morning.”

Jackie Hallam, from Tasmania’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs Council, said a delay in the provision of care could jeopardise its success.

“There’s no point saying ‘oh, come back in five weeks’ — that person may not be at that exact same point then,” Dr Hallam said.

An ABC Four Corners program last week revealed many families in Australia were turning to private rehabilitation centres because of a shortage of public facilities.

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