Nationals MPs have expressed disappointment that Benalla and its surrounding areas were overlooked in the allocation of additional residential rehab beds.
State Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said the announcement ignored the needs of residents in northern Victoria, with not a single extra bed funded north of Heidelberg.
‘‘Considering how difficult it is to get access to a residential rehab facility in our area, Labor’s decision not to fund a single bed north of Heidelberg is incredibly disappointing,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘Labor has again overlooked successful local programs like that run by Odyssey House in Molyullah, which has a waiting list of several months.
‘‘Some facilities in northern Victoria have reported wait lists of up to a year.
‘‘I have heard many first-hand stories from people who couldn’t access treatment when they were ready to go into rehab.
‘‘By the time a place became available, they had fallen off the wagon and were caught in the vicious cycle of addiction.’’
State Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said while any investment in residential rehab beds was a positive step forward, country Victorians were hampered by having to travel long distances to access treatment.
‘‘We have a chronic shortage of rehab beds in country Victoria compared with NSW,’’ Mr McCurdy said.
‘‘It is disappointing Labor has not listened to our region, which has been actively calling for greater investment in treatment options in North East Victoria.’’