Rehab on Nationals’ agenda

By Michael Roberts | posted on November 20, 2020

NATIONALS WA candidate Delma Baesjou is renewing calls to build a rehabilitation centre in Albany.

Ms Baesjou, who will run for the Seat of Albany at the March state election, has started a petition calling on the WA Government to fund a residential rehabilitation drug and alcohol facility.

The town planner says she has already gained 400 signatures.

“The Nationals WA will table the petition in Parliament, and I urge Albany voters to sign it to send a clear message to Government,” Ms Baesjou said.

“There’s no money in the State budget and no planning underway from Government despite a business case being presented to them and operators willing to move on the project.”

Southern Aboriginal Corporation pleaded Albany’s case in 2016 when they laid out plans for a 22-bed facility, but the development failed to snag any funding.

WA’s Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025 notes the Great Southern needs a 16-bed facility by 2025.

Ms Baesjou said the closest rehab facilities – in Nannup and Esperance – were too far away for Albany residents.

“A lot of people are quite surprised we don’t specifically have a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Albany,” she said.

“It affects a lot of families. It’s an issue a lot of Albany people are directly impacted by.”

If elected to State Parliament in March, Ms Baesjou said she would make a local rehab facility one of her priority projects.

“There are some great models and examples we could replicate here in Albany,” she said.

“We want to bring it forward.

“It’s one of the projects we are strongly pushing for, and it is something Royalties for Regions could potentially help fund.”

Meanwhile, the latest findings from the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program revealed alcohol and methamphetamine use in the regions continues to exceed city consumption.

Between December 2019 and April 2020, methylamphetamine and cannabis use increased nationally.