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The former operator of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation service for Indigenous people in the Murraylands, South Australia, want the centre's funding worries highlighted as a federal election issue.
It has been 18 months since the Federal Government stopped funding the service at the Kalparrin community, outside Murray Bridge. The Government is tendering for new services, but the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council says the gap in services has left Indigenous people who are battling substance abuse with nowhere to turn.
Council member Scott Wilson says as the state's only rehabilitation service for Aboriginal people, the effects have been felt far beyond the Murraylands. 'The fact is there's nowhere for any of them to go. It's not just affecting people here in the Murray Bridge, Mallee region, but a lot of the clients [who] used to come here came from as far as Coober Pedy, the west coast and places like that,' he said.
The former operator said Aboriginal people who needed treatment were now falling between the cracks, unable or unwilling to get better at the state's mainstream rehabilitation centres.
Kalparrin program manager James Mulvihill said some Aboriginal people were suffering. If this place was still going then they'd have a place to go. They wouldn't be sleeping on the river or out in the cold or in vacated buildings or whatever,' he said.
Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation