An elected Liberal-National government will fund The Lookout Residential Rehabilitation centre.
South West Coast MP Roma Britnell exclusively told The Standard the election promise, to be announced by opposition spokeswoman for mental health Emma Kealy in Warrnambool today, is for the day-to-day operating costs of an 18-20-bed facility.
She said the money would not be for capital works and was not tied to a specific location.
Mrs Britnell, a former nurse, said she knew how important access to residential rehabilitation was.
“I had clients who had gone through the detox process and were desperately trying to get their life back on track – but it was often impossible to find a residential rehabilitation bed,” she said.
“Right now there are waiting lists of up to a year. People in these situations often can’t wait that long.
“We need to do something to make sure there are more beds available and that is exactly what The Lookout project does. It’s also really important to have the services close to home.
“The community backed the campaign with a huge fund-raising effort and I’m thrilled to help make our vision a reality.”
Western Region Alcohol and Drug centre has previously stated the running costs will be $1.3 million annually.
Director Geoff Soma welcomed the pledge.
“WRAD appreciate the long-standing support provided by Roma throughout the development of The Lookout residential rehabilitation project,” he said.
“This is an important service required by clients in this region with substance misuse issues and deserves government support.
“We have also been encouraged by the Warrnambool community and we are thankful for their fundraising support for The Lookout.
“WRAD has been having dialogue with the government in regards to The Lookout.”
Meanwhile, Warrnambool City Council met behind closed doors with objectors to the planned centre earlier this week as part of the planning application process.