Traralgon youth drug rehab centre build to begin

Kate Withers

A youth drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility proposed for Traralgon is one step closer to materialising, with Health Minister Martin Foley today unveiling the final designs for a state-of-the-art residential centre.

Plans for a 20-bed facility were initially announced as part of a 2018 election promise, and a plot of land on the Princes Highway near Latrobe Regional Hospital was secured in March of 2019.

But a lack of progress, paired with a 33 per cent increase in drug-related crime across Gippsland, prompted the state opposition to call for construction of the Traralgon facility as a matter of urgency last month.

Plans released today confirm construction will begin “in early 2021” and the centre fully operational by the end of the year.

Another two youth rehab facilities will open Corio and Wangaratta, with all three to be built by Melbourne-based Modscape.

They will cater for people aged between 16 and 21 and address underlying issues leading to alcohol and other drug use, in a structured residential setting.

Young people will also engage in a live-in program that includes around-the-clock clinical care, social and life skills development activities, relapse prevention education, individual counselling and group work.

The youth-specific facility will also support young people to reintegrate back into the community and access educational and vocational training and employment skills.

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said the new facilities would “save lives and help people get back on track close to home”

“These plans have been … finalised following extensive consultation with the community and service providers, ensuring members of our community on their recovery journey receive better treatment,” she said.