A south-west MP fears Warrnambool's bid for a drug and alcohol residential rehabiliation facility will be overlooked in the upcoming state budget.
Member for Western Victoria Stuart Grimley questioned why the state government had spoken about having discussions with Mildura community members about its proposed residential rehabilitation facility, while pleas for similar talks about The Lookout have fallen on deaf ears.
Mr Grimley wrote a letter to Premier Daniel Andrews about his concerns.
"The facility is being proposed by Western Region Alcohol & Drug Centre (WRAD), with over $1.2 million being raised by the community (including a $600,000 pledge from WRAD) to build the facility," Mr Grimley said.
"There is a clear need for such a facility to be built in the south-west, with other residential facilities hours away from the area and dealing with their own demand pressures."
Mr Grimley said Health Minister Martin Foley appeared to be supportive of the project when he met with him recently.
"He was supportive of the project and said he would speak to stakeholders to gauge an update on the project," Mr Grimley said in his letter.
"The following week, in the media, the minister called for a 'joint state and federal partnership' to fund The Lookout. I query why a 'partnership' is being pushed for Warrnambool's The Lookout proposal, but not for the Mildura proposal, which the Premier said he 'hope(d) that (the government) can look favourably upon the submission that she has made in the forthcoming budget'.
"Further, the residential rehabilitation facilities funded in the 2021-22 Budget (for Corio, Traralgon and Wangaratta) were not funded in a joint partnership, but solely by the state government."
Mr Grimley said key stakeholders in The Lookout should be granted a meeting to discuss the proposal.
"I am writing to request that the Warrnambool community - or at least the stakeholders who have been involved in pushing and fundraising for The Lookout - be afforded the same opportunity to meet with yourself to discuss the need for a residential rehabilitation facility in the south-west, as a matter of priority," Mr Grimley said.
The Standard put questions to Mr Foley about whether he would meet with proponents of The Lookout.
A state government spokesman did not address the question on whether he would grant a meeting.
"We are always in conversation with service providers about how to reduce harm in their communities and across the state," the spokesman said.
"It's why we have doubled the number of beds across Victoria, with more than half of these new beds in regional Victoria, and are tackling drug and alcohol abuse, with more than $180 million invested as part of the Ice Action Plan and $87 million through the Drug Rehabilitation Plan."
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