Funding still required for rehab services: Weigelli

Weigelli's regional board (Back) CEO Danny Jeffries, Chairperson Ray Harris and Shawn Galea. Middle: Keshia Keed, Esther Cutmore, Frances Kennedy and Josie Waters. Front: Treasurer Valda Keed and Joyce Williams.
Weigelli's regional board (Back) CEO Danny Jeffries, Chairperson Ray Harris and Shawn Galea. Middle: Keshia Keed, Esther Cutmore, Frances Kennedy and Josie Waters. Front: Treasurer Valda Keed and Joyce Williams.

Weigelli chairperson Ray Harris and CEO Daniel Jeffries have doubled down on the need for more funding to be made available for rehab services.

In their annual report both Mr Harris and Mr Jeffries said revenue streams remained of concern with "no additional recurrent funding available for rehab services".

"The Weigelli Centre and other services across the sector need additional funding to address the increasing need for drug and alcohol treatment services.

"The continuing challenges remain for services to provide support and assistance to Aboriginal individuals, families and their communities."

This was a similar theme in their 2018/19 report, which stated the federal government had made announcements for additional funding to address drug problems, however none of the funds were available for rehab services.

The pair are however hopeful that funding will be made available soon.

"After conducting a number of community information sessions throughout NSW the state government has released its special report into the drug Ice," their report read.

"There are number recommendations in the report and the state government is working through these with stakeholders, with a final response from the government expected before the end of the year.

"One of the recommendations in the report is increased funding for residential rehab services."

Despite the funding difficulties, Mr Harris and Mr Jeffries remained positive about Weigelli's future, with their report noting their discharge survey results seeing and increase from 84 per cent in 2018/19 to 88 percent in 2019/20.

"This is a positive experience for both parties and information of the discussions is fed back to staff and residents which in turn gives them a degree of confidence in being heard and listened to," the report read.

Their report also noted Weigelli's improved position in policy making, with the NSW Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Residential Rehabilitation Network (ADARRN), of which Weigelli is a member, becoming its own entity.

"ADARRN has established memorandums of understanding with the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AHMRC) and the Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA)," the report said.

"With these developments being made the ADARRN is in a position to have some leverage in policy on drug and alcohol treatment services for Aboriginal clients in the state."

The report noted that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, throughout 2020, the centre had continued to make improvements and accept Aboriginal people for treatment.

"Due to the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in providing financial assistance for charitable services, Weigelli Centre was able to apply for and receive JobKeeper and other stimulus financial support from the ATO," the report said.

"This has assisted in maintaining staff levels and also developing site improvements."

While still calling for more funding the pair thanked the state and federal government for their ongoing support.

They also thanked "service providers and stakeholders who have worked and been involved with us for the past year in assisting with the needs of our clientele, their support is very much appreciated".

"The AHMRC and NADA for their advocacy support across the drug and alcohol sector," the report said.

"A special thank you to Cowra Rotary for their interest and assistance this year.

"Weigelli Centre staff and other board members who are always present to ensure the continuation of the organisation's services for the benefit of Aboriginal people in need of treatment care for their substance misuse issues."