Labor receives a "d' for drug strategy

Media Release - Friday, 22 January 2016

Member for Davenport, Mr Sam Duluk, has called on the new Minister for Disabilities, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Ms Leesa Vlahos, to acknowledge the failings of the Weatherill Labor Government’s Alcohol and Other Drug Strategy.

The SA Alcohol and Other Drug Strategy 2011-2016 Annual Progress Report was published recently and is yet another example of the poor standard the Government has set in this area.

The Report is of substandard quality, was released too late, and raises more questions than it provides answers.

“The willingness of the Government to accept and publish a report of such poor quality is a frightening reflection of the standard they set for themselves and the Department,” said Mr Duluk.

The 2014 Progress Report, dated February 2015, and provided to the Minister prior to 2015 Budget Estimates, was only recently published;

Funding has been cut to programs that were identified as effective and exceeding KPIs;

Other initiatives have stalled or are not being pursued due to ‘competing priorities’; and,

There are 12 errors in Part A alone, including three on Page 1 – they include spelling errors, typos, and grammar mistakes, as well as duplication of words, sentences and entire paragraphs.

“This is just another bungled report from a tired government. Spelling errors and typos are the tip of the iceberg of the problems transcending the Government’s health policy.

“Transforming Health is a calamity, the Repat is forecast for closure despite overwhelming public opposition, and the new RAH is plunging the State into mind-boggling levels of debt.”

Mr Duluk hopes that Ms Vlahos will improve on the standard set by her predecessor.

“The reality is that the Health Minister Jack Snelling is preoccupied with managing the fallout from his disastrous Transforming Health policy, and he simply hasn’t had the capacity to focus on the Mental Health and Substance Abuse portfolio.

“These are important health issues. You can’t read the newspaper, listen to the radio or turn on the evening news without hearing of more heartbreak and tragedy caused by mental illness or substance abuse.

“It comes at a huge cost to individuals, their families, and the broader community.

“A good start for Ms Vlahos would be the release of the 2015 annual progress report in a timely fashion – without error,” said Mr Duluk.