I’m continuing to campaign for the repurposing of the current Banksia mental Health Unit at Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital to become a drug and alcohol detoxification facility to support drug and alcohol rehabilitation, once the new mental health facility is open.

Now is the time for the NSW government to plan for a new use for the building. As construction has started on the new $58 million modern mental health building which will bring a better service for people needing clinical support for mental health issues, we need to plan for the next stage.

The region does not have a dedicated public drug and alcohol facility and this would be an ideal use of the current Banksia building. The existing drug and alcohol outreach services do an excellent job, but clearly we need more.

Repurposing the Banksia building would be an excellent use of an existing health asset and being located next to the hospital and other medical services makes good sense.

The government is already well aware of my push for this repurposing, they just need to commit to the plan.

Polair for the region: I’m also pushing for a division of the police helicopter support, Polair, to be based in Tamworth. There are ideal spaces at the existing airport and with the use of Polair recently to support police crime detection in the region, it also makes perfect sense.

This would give great support to local police as we fight against the waves of regional crime. I’ve written to the NSW Police Minister to push the idea, and I look forward to her response.

New refuge for DV victims: A project to support accommodation for domestic violence victims and survivors is progressing well.

Called a Core and Cluster model and based on successful models in other parts of regional NSW, the refuge co-locates independent living accommodation with easy access to on-site support services and counselling.

We all know that having a safe and secure place to live is one of the biggest barriers to having women and children escape domestic violence situations.

The new refuge, to be operated by Gunnedah Gunya, will significantly improve capacity for the region.

We have zero tolerance for domestic violence and it’s good to see the planning progressing.

If you require support, please contact 1800 RESPECT or 1800 WDVCAS. In case of emergency, call 000.

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