Michelle Lensink

Drug and alcohol support services could be shafted in upcoming Budget

The Rann Government must provide vital funding for non-government drug and alcohol support services in Thursday’s State Budget.

Shadow Substance Abuse Minister Michelle Lensink said she knew of at least one organisation whose future was in doubt.

“The Family Matters organisation doesn’t know whether the Rann Government will continue to fund it after June 30, 2007,” Ms Lensink said.

“While its sister organisation in Victoria receives up to $300,000 in funding from the Victorian Government per year, Family Matters in this state receives just $50,000 per annum, money which it has used to set up a 1-8-0-0 number counselling service.

“This hotline receives up to 30 phone calls a day, many of whom were from grandparents who have been assaulted and robbed by their drug addicted grandchildren and who are too afraid to report these alleged incidents to police.

“Family Matters provides support to families of substance abusers, information about the effects of substance abuse and can also refer clients to other substance abuse support organisations.

“If funding to this organisation is cut then South Australians affected by substance abuse could be left with nowhere to go.

“The Rann Government’s lack of support for this non-government organisation is making it harder for it to gain much needed funding elsewhere.

“Family Matters has applied for Commonwealth funding on three separate occasions, however, the organisation has been told that it needs to demonstrate stronger support at the state level if it is to obtain Federal Government funding.

“This organisation would like to be able to plug gaps in services provided in this state, including a residential rehabilitation service for single mothers struggling with substance abuse, who often refrain from getting help in the fear that their children could be taken away from them by Families SA.

“For Family Matters to continue its valuable work it must receive funding from the Rann Government. It would be a tragedy if this organisation is forced to shut up shop because the Treasurer was being tight with the purse strings.”

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