A petition for a detox unit and increased drug and counselling services in Esperance, has been referred to parliament after receiving 1700 signatures in six weeks.
The petition was circulated by Esperance resident Deleine Congreve who decided to take action after a family member became addicted to crystal meth.
Ms Congreve said she felt disregarded by the system and noted a lack of support for individuals and families affected by drugs.
The petition has been endorsed by Federal Member for O’Connor, Rick Wilson, Member for Mining and Pastoral Region, Dave Grills, Minister for Mental Health, Helen Morton, Minister for Regional Development, Terry Redman, Minister for Housing, Colin Holt, and Deputy Premier and Minister for Police, Liza Harvey.
“I think the parliament especially the National Party are aware of the problems facing rural Western Australia with mental health, drug, and alcohol problems,” Ms Congreve said.
Ms Congreve said she would like to see a denominational detox unit and rehabilitation facility in town and believes increased counselling services would solve the immediate problem.
A response from St John Ambulance CEO Tony Ahern, indicated that drug related cases had increased from three in 2013/14 to 25 in 2015/16 but remained a small percentage of Esperance’s overall workload.
Minister for Mining and Pastoral Region, Dave Grills, tabled the petition in parliament on behalf of Ms Congreve in December last year.
The petition was referred to the Environment and Public Affairs Committee for consideration.
Mr Grills said he was happy to assist community service groups to apply for funding. He said the emphasis should not be on the location of the services in Esperance, but that they are delivered effectively.
“My preference would be for an expansion of services at another site, possibly delivered by a not-for-profit organisation,” Mr Grills said.
Member for Eyre Dr Graham Jacobs said the Minister for Mental Health offered to come to Esperance and he would encourage her to hear the communities concerns and needs.
Ms Congreve said herself, Dr Jacbos and Shire of Esperance shire president, Victoria Brown, would plan a public forum.
“It’s up the shire, the politicians and most of all the community to deal with this problem through education, funding and support services,” Ms Congreve said.