Immediate steps will be taken to improve services for people in the Geraldton area with alcohol or drug problems, Mid-West Minister Tom Stephens said today.
Mr Stephens made the announcement in Geraldton, where he was speaking to representatives of local community organisations about funding programs under the State Government's Social Advantage strategy.
The Minister said new information, counselling, referral and treatment services were being set up to extend current programs and give people better access to and choice of services.
The initiatives flowed from a review of Geraldton alcohol and drug services by the Geraldton Mid-West Development Authority. The review was commissioned by former Health Minister Keith Wilson earlier this year.
"Health Minister Ian Taylor has endorsed the review's recommendations and agreed to immediate action to develop a full range of services in Geraldton to deal with drug and alcohol problems," Mr Stephens said.
"The Government and community agencies will now work together to implement the initiatives and enhance the town's services in this important health area."
The main initiatives are -
· Setting up an alcohol and drug `one-stop shop' in Rosella House, where key agencies will offer a range of services, including information, counselling, referral and advice, and programs for people needing specialised attention;
· a new social skills self-help program for Rosella House residents and day clients;
· funding for Holyoake to establish services in Geraldton;
· a 12-month community alcohol and health project to develop programs for clients needing detoxification, working with local GPs;
· education initiatives to improve the confidence and competence of health and welfare workers, Aborigines and community groups, focusing on awareness programs to better manage and respond to alcohol and drug concerns; and
· a Community Advisory Committee representing community groups, service providers and the general community to help the Geraldton Alcohol and Drug Authority office respond to drug and alcohol issues and help plan future services in the area.
Mr Stephens said trained counsellors from key Government and community agencies would be rostered at the Rosella House `one-stop shop' through the week and after hours to ensure information and advice was offered when needed by clients, their friends and families.
"The review and its recommendations represent a very positive step forward for alcohol and drug services in Geraldton," Mr Stephens said.
"The Holyoake program is known throughout the State for its successful treatment services, particularly for young people and families, and will give Geraldton people access to treatment previously available only in Perth.
"Taken together, the initiatives broaden the choice of services and should help the community comprehensively to tackle alcohol and drug problems."