NSW Governor Margaret Beazley has backed calls for a drug rehabilitation centre in Dubbo after Councillor Stephen Lawrence referred to it in his NAIDOC week speech.
Cr Lawrence reiterated in his speech the Dubbo Regional Council's commitment to providing land for a rehab facility because it recognises the way over-representation of Aboriginal people in our jails was entrenching disadvantage, and "dooming too many young people to repeating cycles of mental ill-health, unemployment and drug use."
Parkes MP Mark Coulton has secured $3 million federal government funding towards the establishment of a centre.
"Her Excellency endorses councillor Lawrence's comments, which included his calls for a rehab centre in Dubbo," a spokesperson for the Governor said.
"The Governor observes that there is widespread community support for this initiative."
Cr Lawrence said he wanted Dubbo's drug-affected people to have the same opportunities people in the city have.
"Dubbo recently hosted a hearing of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug 'Ice'. Unsurprisingly there were stories about the horrific damage the drug is doing to users and their families," he said.
"Council is determined to put the spotlight on these issues, and I know (Dubbo MP) Dugald Saunders knows how important this piece of social infrastructure is."
Mr Saunders told the Daily Liberal he believes there is a need for some sort of support, "it's just a matter of how that happens," he said.
"If we don't get it right, it could be a very expensive disaster. I don't want that to happen.
"I have said all along that I support a drug court and rehab centre for Dubbo but I also believe that it is important we don't rush into the project, and that we get it right.
"Tackling drug and alcohol abuse is a key priority, and there is currently a Special Commission of Inquiry into the drug 'Ice' which will deliver outcomes that myself and other members of the NSW Government will assess when they are made available.
"Matters pertaining to drugs can often be a life or death scenario, they tear apart families and they have enormous social consequences.
"I understand people want these projects to go ahead, and I do too, but I think we should wait until the Special Commission finishes, listen to its recommendations and form policy based on those recommendations."