Victoria's south-west is a great place to live but the region doesn't have it all, good roads, trains and a redeveloped hospital.
In the past we've all dug deep to help fund initiatives like the regional cancer care centre and before that a rescue helicopter service. Community will and drive is an enormous power. So when the interests of a few overrides the greater good it causes ripples in our community.
This week we again saw the negative impact of being a long way from Melbourne. County Court judge Mark Taft referred to the 'lottery of postcode justice" when presiding over a Warrnambool drug trafficker's case. The man's appeal was adjourned so he could seek admission into Melbourne rehabilitation facility Odyssey House.
Judge Taft said it was unfortunate Warrnambool did not have a drug court or residential rehabilitation facility.
If there were, the 33-year-old would now be in that rehab centre, being regularly tested and supported to turn around his life.
His comments came after Odyssey House chief told Western Region Alcohol and Drug centre's annual general meeting that a third of people who entered residential rehab facilities shook off their issues, another third improved and the remainder didn't change.
Residential rehab is one of the very few approaches that can have a life-changing impact on addicts. In Warrnambool we are nearing a decision on the proposed Lookout residential rehabilitation centre. It's a desperately needed service.
Police have focused on drug trafficking since mid this year. Twenty-five people were changed with trafficking in about six weeks. The flow-on effects have been stunning.
Burglaries are down almost 25 per cent and there's been a significant drop in crime.
But we can't just keep locking up those in the drug culture. It's time to look at bigger social issues and possible solutions. It clearly doesn't work all the time but a rehabilitation facility is essential.
Let's hope we can take another positive step towards its realisation soon and in turn remove an element of postcode justice.
- Andrew Thomson is The Standard's law and order reporter.