Local Greens MPs for Melbourne, Adam Bandt and Ellen Sandell, have welcomed the government’s decision to expand the number of supervised injecting trial sites, including in Melbourne, saying the Greens had repeatedly pushed the government to relieve the pressure on Richmond residents by expanding trial locations.
The Greens were the first political party to advocate for the supervised injecting facility trial.
Bandt and Sandell said the Melbourne trial is an opportunity to get the community consultation right after the government mishandled community engagement in Richmond, and that they were disappointed Minister Martin Foley failed to have an additional trial centre in St Kilda, in his electorate.
Quotes attributable to Adam Bandt MP:
“The government seems to have finally listened to the Greens, who have consistently argued that more trial sites will help save lives and take strain off the Richmond facility and residents.
“This is an opportunity for the government to get it right with residents and ensure the centre has the support to become a permanent feature.
“The Richmond experience shows that there must be a taskforce overseeing the trial that includes residents, centre staff, police and all levels of government.
Quotes attributable to Ellen Sandell MP:
“This is exactly what the Greens have been calling for: more safe injecting rooms to take the pressure off residents in Richmond and save lives. But this time, the Victorian Government needs to do it properly and consult with residents and Council.
“Without resident involvement, the social licence of the centre comes under threat, so I hope Labor learns the lessons from Richmond. If we work together on this, we can make it work.
“The new site must be built in consultation with the community members who will be using it and those living near it.
“Unfortunately, the expansion of trial sites hasn’t extended to areas like St Kilda, despite the review identifying high demand from users living there.
“The Minister has to justify to his community why he failed to also provide a potentially lifesaving service in his own electorate.”
Quotes attributable to Australian Greens Health Spokesperson, Senator Richard Di Natale:
"The announcement of a further injecting facility in Melbourne is to be congratulated.
"Australia was once a leader in harm reduction but for many years we have fallen behind the world in treating drug use as a health issue.
"These facilities save lives. The supervised injecting room in North Richmond was only the second in Australia when we know the demand is huge. It’s very positive news that it will be extended and a further site is to be opened in the CBD.
"As a drug and alcohol doctor I saw first hand the devastation that can come from addiction when treatment is unavailable. But every overdose death is preventable and that’s why we have campaigned alongside the community for more safe injecting facilities."
NOTE: Adam Bandt's submission to the independent review, which shows a number of the Greens' proposals have been accepted, is available here.