Fight for Bay rehab to reap election promise rewards
AHEAD of the last state election, Ted Sorensen stood out the front of Bayside Transformations and called on his party to direct funding there should they win government.
His position hasn't changed.
As the State Government moved into caretaker mode, the outgoing Hervey Bay MP told the Chronicle he hoped that if the LNP was successful this time around, Bayside Transformations would be a first stop for funding which had again been pledged by the State Opposition to tackle the ice epidemic in the Wide Bay.
It comes after Bundaberg's LNP member David Batt told the Bundaberg News Mail state election debate he would fight 'tooth and nail' for the funding go towards a new rehab in the Rum City.
Mr Sorensen said he recognised Bundaberg needed drug services but the party should not only be choosing one location for support when the whole region was in need.
"It doesn't have to be one or the other," he said
"It should be both".
Referencing times when he had seen evidence of resident recovery at Bayside Transformations, "first hand" Mr Sorensen said the organisation had been at the forefront of the ice crisis for many years, had a sound record of success and a strong vegetable production business arm which helped program participants prepare for the workforce.
LNP candidate Steve Coleman, the local businessman who hopes to follow in Ted's footsteps was quizzed during the Chronicle state election debate, the day before the Bundaberg debate, on whether he would take up the baton for Transformations and about his plans to keep the people of Hervey Bay safe while still tackling ice addiction in the community.
At the time he said he had met with the organisation, recognised they were doing a "great job" and were underfunded but stopped short of making a commitment.
"Certainly we've got a great system going in already but it's just too small and whether that can be expanded - we can certainly talk to them … we just need to move forward and build more."
Independent candidate Stuart Taylor told the debate that as a former police officer the issue of drug related crime was close to his heart.
"I've listened to a number of politicians talk about being tough on crime and tough on drugs and it often means that they're being dumb on crime and dumb on drugs because we need to be smarter," he said
"The problem is drug addiction and the best way to deal with problem is to treat drug addiction … it costs roughly $35,000 a year to have someone in a rehabilitation centre.
"It costs $110,000 to have them in a prison yet a prison is nowhere near as successful in dealing with the drug addiction as a rehabilitation centre so we know rehabilitation centres are cheaper and more effective and … they still keep that person off the street while they are dealing with their drug addiction so I think that's the key.
"There are 51 detox beds in Queensland - I think there needs to be more, I think there needs to be a detox centre here in Hervey Bay to support the incredible work that's being done with drug rehabilitation at the moment."
One Nation candidate Damian Huxham told the debate his party had met with Transformations ahead of the last election and would be "more than happy" to support drug rehabilitation and a detox centre in the Bay.
He also wanted to see more magistrates in the state and if need be, more jails built to combat overcrowding.
"We can't just take a political look at this- we've got to take an axe to it and do something about it," he said
Mr Coleman told the Chronicle on the long weekend he'd since firmed up his position and promised to fight for the funding to go towards helping Transformations expand its services in the Bay.
"If I'm elected, I will push for it to go here," he said
How would you like to see drug-related crime and addiction tackled on the Fraser Coast?