I seek leave to make an explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Youth on the subject of counselling in the South-East.
17 July 2012
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: On 30 June this year, the Weatherill government axed funding to the South East Drug and Alcohol Counselling Service, which was a highly successful service which had been operating in Mount Gambier for 20 years. It employed 4.0 FTEs to provide drug and alcohol counselling plus it had the use of an additional FTE from the South East Regional Community Health Service to deal solely with counselling youth—so, a total of five.
The government is now only providing funding for 1.4 FTEs, with one to come from the organisation Life Without Barriers and 0.4 from UnitingCare Wesley to do the job that was previously done by five, and there is no longer to be a designated youth drug and alcohol service in the South-East. My questions for the minister are:
1. According to government figures, there will be 1,440 hour-long appointments available in 2012-13. How many of those hours will be dedicated to youth services?
2. What capabilities does Life Without Barriers have in drug and alcohol counselling?
3. How much money has the government saved by abolishing a designated youth drug and alcohol service for the South-East?
4. How long is the contract for the new staffing arrangements?
5. Can the minister assure the South-East that no young person will be worse off under these new staffing arrangements?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Minister for Social Housing, Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Youth, Minister for Volunteers) (14:37): I thank the honourable member for her very important question. My understanding, however, is that youth drug and alcohol service provision is the responsibility of another minister, the Minister for Health in the other place. I will take the question on notice and seek an answer on her behalf from him.
10 September 2013
In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (17 July 2012).
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation): The Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse has been advised:
1.Life Without Barriers has been contracted to provide 720 two-hour counselling appointments per annum (this equates to 1,440 hours of counselling per annum). These services can be accessed by youth and adult clients.
2.Life Without Barriers is a 'not-for-profit' organisation that commenced operation in 1995. It currently has 85 support centres nationally providing services to the community. Life Without Barriers met all the tender criteria and demonstrated capacity for service mix, value for money and the location of service provision across the state.
3.There has been no savings. The total pool of funding for drug and alcohol treatment services under the Drug and Alcohol Services Program and the Police Drug Diversion Initiative has remained the same.
4.The service agreement with Life Without Barriers is for the period 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2015.
5.No young person in the South East will be worse off as a result of the tender process as there are sufficient interventions available to provide a range of services that can be accessed by young people.
In 2011-12, 19 young people (up to 19 years of age) were provided counselling services under the Drug and Alcohol Services Program.
In 2011-12, 22 young people (10 to 17 years of age) were diverted by the South Australia Police under the Police Drug Diversion Initiative.
The number of available appointments for these services from 2012-13 to 2014-15 will be more than able to accommodate this level of service utilisation by young people.