Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (18:01): (1945) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Health, and the action I am seeking relates to Victoria’s Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce Strategy. This strategy sets the direction for workforce development and planning for Victoria’s AOD sector, but it is from 2018 to 2022. So it has finished, and we have seen no new strategies going forward.
This strategy is supposed to be focused on workforce availability, workforce capabilities and workforce diversity, improving the health of workers in that area, strengthening leadership and delivering person-centred integrated care.
I can tell you that in every single inquiry that the Legal and Social Issues Committee does we report that we need more alcohol and other drug workers. We are bereft of them. In the inquiry that I am going to this evening, where we are talking about the impact on children of parental incarceration, the lack and the dearth of alcohol and drug workers is mentioned time and time again.
In fact even in Mr Finn’s adjournment—now, most people would not expect us to agree, and we may not agree on the outcome—the issues that Mr Finn raised relate to the lack of an alcohol and other drugs strategy. Mr Finn might have different ideas of what to do with those people than I do; however, it shows yet again that our strategy is not working.
Then in this budget we saw a cut of $40 million to this sector when everyone is saying we do not have enough alcohol and other drug workers. We do not have enough rehab beds, we do not have enough treatment and we do not have enough counselling, yet we saw a $40 million cut.
So the action I am seeking from the minister—and I am very hopeful that the minister and the minister’s office have already done this, that they have developed a strategy for the next four years and that they are fully funding the strategy—is for the minister to publish that strategy and help us meet the demand and help us reduce the preventable deaths and injuries resulting from drug use in Victoria.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Adjournment matter 25/5/22