Drug And Alcohol Services South Australia

22 Jun 2006 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse a question about the DASSA relocation to Glenside.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: My office has sought information under the Freedom of Information Act in relation to the scope of the Glenside campus.We received one reply from the Social Inclusion Board dated 10 May which states:

I refer to your application of 21 April 2006. . . An extensive search was conducted within the Social Inclusion Unit and on the records management database. No documents relevant to your request were found.

A similar request to Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia yielded a three page brief, which, I am told, is dated March 2006. In part, it states:

A capital works project has been submitted for approval in the 2006-07 state government budget. The proposed method of funding is a loan which will be serviced through the recurrent cost savings of having consolidated services on one site. It is noted that recurrent savings would be returned to DASSA following the pay-off period to address identified gaps in service delivery.

It outlines the three sites that DASSA has for its inpatients and outpatients as Elura at North Adelaide, the Alcohol Unit at Joslin and Warinilla at Norwood. It continues:

The infrastructure of all three sites is an issue requiring urgent attention. All three sites have old and inefficient infrastructure which impacts on the quality of services that can be provided. In addition, the operation of services across three sites is not financially viable.

It then outlines two options, the second being to redevelop the Warinilla site at Norwood, but it states that the preference is for option number one, which is to build on a greenfield site that provides ease of access to clients of the service, and in brackets it says, ‘Our preference is the Glenside site’. The cost of the facility and land is $9.9 million, and revenue from the sale of the three current sites is $8.67 million. It is proposed that building works will be provided through a loan, with an approximate interest expense of $1 million, and cost neutral after six years. The other option cites the cost of redevelopment as $11.3 million, with revenue from the sale of the two sites at North Adelaide and Joslin as $5.41 million, and it would be cost neutral after 22 years, with an approximate interest expense of $6 million. My questions are:

1. Will the minister confirm that the government has already made up its mind about Glenside’s future?

2. When was the Social Inclusion Board given its reference to determine Glenside’s future role?

3. Will the government rule out approving this project for major development status to get around council processes?

4. Are the capital values in the brief accurate?

5. Given DASSA’s financial position, what strategies has the government implemented to ensure that it will not fall over?

6. Will the government continue to provide any in-patient mental health services at Glenside?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO(Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse): I thank the honourable member for her questions. I have made available briefings to members of the opposition, particularly opposition spokespeople for the areas of environment and mental health and substance abuse, and those briefings are always available to members and we are happy to provide whatever information they seek. I am sure they would agree that my office has been extremely helpful in regard to their past requests for information. So, quite clearly, we are not seeking to hide anything.

In relation to Glenside and DASSA, it is important to say that the government recognises that there is a link between mental health and substance abuse, and that is why the Premier has appointed me as Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse. I think it shows that commitment and the acknowledgment of that connection. It is in recognition of that link that we have a plan to consolidate drug and alcohol services at the Glenside campus. The proposed consolidation sites will:

enable services to be delivered from a central location,

improve old and inefficient infrastructure,

enable service integration and improve efficiency of operations, and

reduce the cost of operations.

Planning is well under way. It certainly has not been completed so, in terms of questions around major project status, etc., they are matters that we have not needed to consider at present, and I doubt that we will but, as I said, we are still in the planning process and are continuing with that process.

I also put on the record that there are a number of other benefits proposed by the consolidation of drug and alcohol services at the Glenside campus. I think we can see that this government has worked very hard to improve services to the public, and this is one strategy of many that I have spoken about in this chamber before, but it is one strategy of many that will improve services, I believe. It will include:

better cooperation and integration of services between drug services and alcohol services and between in-patient services and community-based services,

the ability to improve intake services across a full range of services,

the ability to provide a single point of contact for all other services that would link into drug and alcohol services,

and the ability to create a purpose-built facility that improves client privacy by way of consulting rooms and in-patient services which are also being considered in design.

I have spoken previously about our plan to review the Glenside-based services.We are committed to ensuring that we retain that campus and that it continues to play a significant role in mental health service provision. We have said that the Glenside campus will complement community mental health services and those provided in mainstream services.

I remind members that many of the adult acute services are being transferred from Glenside to our public hospitals. We are building purpose-built mental health facilities at Margaret Tobin at Flinders Medical Centre. I have also spoken in this chamber previously about the 58 beds that will transfer from Glenside campus later this year and also the 60 community rehabilitation beds. I also mention our returning home project.

In terms of the future of the Glenside site, the process of building new facilities and some bed transfers (about which I have spoken) will take place over the next seven to 10 years.

Obviously this has to be done in an appropriate way and in a staged and supported manner, and so it will take some planning. Part of the process will gradually evolve to deliver a more modern model of mental health and related health services. The eventual configuration will be informed by the major work being carried out by the Social Inclusion Board (which I have also mentioned in the chamber previously), which is looking at the transformation of our mental health services and the appropriate mix of services. The final Glenside master plan, if you like, will be informed by the Social Inclusion Board process, and a final decision about exactly which services are to be provided, other than those which we have already announced, will be developed then.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I have a supplementary question. Given that on 10 May the Social Inclusion Board stated that it had no records in relation to this particular issue, will the minister inform the council when the Social Inclusion Board was given this reference?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I am not too sure. It was early—

The Hon. Carmel Zollo: It certainly was in March.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: Yes, about March. If that is not correct information, I will ensure that information is brought back to the chamber.