Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Former Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and the Digital Economy; Medical Research; Volunteering

    Broome Sobering Up Centre to re-open, Step Up/Step Down community consultation begins

    17/12/2021 2:45 PM
    • Broome Sobering Up Centre to re-open next week
    • WA Government committed to investing in Broome mental health and alcohol and other drug services and facilities
    • Mental health Step Up/Step Down facility consultation begins

    The Broome Sobering Up Centre will re-open next week, providing a safe place to stay overnight for people who are intoxicated.


    The accommodation component of the service closed temporarily on October 23, when the building it operated from was found to be unfit for habitation. New premises in Roebuck have been leased from the Western Australian Government for up to three years, during which time a new permanent location will be found.


    While the Centre has been closed for overnight stays, service provider Milliya Rumurra Aboriginal Corporation has scaled up its individual assessment and assertive outreach services:

    • conducting more than 400 individual client assessments;
    • facilitating 19 referrals to rehabilitation treatment services; and
    • assisting 31 people to return to Country.

    This outreach has ensured there was minimal impact on local police or health services while the Centre has been closed, including on Broome Hospital's emergency department.


    The Shire of Broome, Department of Communities, Department of Health, WA Police Force, the Mental Health Commission, Department of Finance, Lotterywest, Milliya Rumurra Aboriginal Corporation, Kullarri Patrol and a host of local organisations have worked tirelessly to ensure a centre-based overnight accommodation service would be operational in as short a timeframe as possible.


    Sobering Up Centres were established in Western Australia in 1991 as a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. They provide safe overnight care for intoxicated people in a supervised setting.


    For people with mental health issues, Step Up/Step Down facilities provide short-term residential support and individualised care, allowing them to reside safely in their community and stay close to personal supports, family and friends.


    Community consultation for a new Step Up/Step Down facility in Broome has commenced. The facility will be located on the corner of Clementson and Dora streets and will provide mental health services for up to six people, accommodated in individual units in a modern residential setting. Public comment is open until 5pm on Monday, January 10, 2022 and can be directed to community.stepupstepdown@mhc.wa.gov.au  


    Comments attributed to Mental Health Minister Stephen Dawson:


    "The McGowan Government is absolutely committed to investing in mental health and alcohol and other drug services and facilities in Broome, including in a centre-based sobering up service that gives people a safe place to stay overnight when they are intoxicated.


    "I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to find an alternative solution for overnight accommodation, and I especially want to acknowledge the Shire of Broome and the Department of Communities for their efforts.


    "To have this vital component of service back up and running in just over eight weeks at a new location is a testament to the inclusive, collaborative nature of the relationships we have across the Broome community."


    Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Divina D'Anna:


    "The Sobering Up Centre and the new Step Up/Step Down facility in Broome will make a positive difference, both to individual people's lives and to the wellbeing of the community as a whole.


    "I would like to congratulate Milliya Rumurra Aboriginal Corporation staff on their assertive outreach work while the centre has been temporarily closed, and the very excellent outcomes this new focus has had, and will continue to have, for the people of Broome."


    Minister's office - 6552 5800