News & Events

A message from CEO Mark Powell

“I am beyond disappointed that The Lookout has once again been overlooked in the 2024-25 Victorian State Budget but remain committed to making this essential residential rehabilitation facility a reality.

This disappointment is in my capacity as CEO of WRAD Health and also as a former Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Clinician, where I know the absence of this facility will cost lives and continue to tear apart families.

But I will not lose hope. The Lookout represents a beacon of hope for individuals struggling with addiction in south-west Victoria. With the support of government funding and community stakeholders, we can transform lives, strengthen communities, and pave the way towards a brighter, healthier future for all.

I stand ready to continue these conversations so that instead of community disappointment again in 12 months’ time, we are sitting down with architects to make The Lookout a reality.

I will continue working with the Victorian State Government to ensure The Lookout is a reality in the 2025-26 State Budget.

The need for a dedicated AOD Residential Rehabilitation facility in south-west Victoria has been evident for more than a decade. WRAD Health has been pursuing the development of The Lookout for more than seven years, driven by a comprehensive demand analysis that underscores the urgency for such a facility in the Great South Coast region. It is well supported by a range of community services and community members with more than $1 million pledged or donated to get this project off the ground.

The statistics paint a stark picture of the challenges faced by our communities.

In 2023, WRAD Health’s AOD clinical services delivered 826 treatment episodes, with alcohol being the primary drug of concern for 53% of cases. Unfortunately, demand outweighs treatment provision.

Health perspective data from 2012-2021 shows;

• There were 8,302 hospitalisations where drugs were the main reason for admission in Warrnambool, Southern Grampians, Glenelg, Corangamite and Moyne.

• For a similar time period there were 5,844 alcohol and drug related ambulances attendances across Warrnambool Moyne, Glenelg, Corangamite, and Southern Grampians.

Further, there were 2,173 deaths related to alcohol and illicit drugs within the Corangamite, Glenelg, Moyne, Southern Grampians and Warrnambool areas. These numbers do not reflect road deaths, but where is our ‘Towards Zero’ campaign?

Criminality has also seen an increase. In Warrnambool we have seen an overall 13.8% increase in offending with rates of Family Violence up 18.5%, higher than state average with women 81% of the affected family members. Incidents involving assault are up, incidents involving breach of family violence orders are up, drug possession is up. Similarly in Glenelg, increased rates of breach of FV order and drug possession as well criminal damage.

The absence of a dedicated AOD Residential Rehabilitation facility exacerbates these issues, leaving individuals and families without access to the crucial support they need to overcome addiction. Without proper intervention, the cycle of substance misuse perpetuates, leading to further strain on healthcare systems, law enforcement, and social services.

The Lookout, spearheaded by WRAD Health, aims to address this pressing need by providing evidence-based, proven treatment in a supportive and therapeutic environment. By offering comprehensive programs tailored to individual needs, including counselling, medical services, and supported accommodation, the facility will empower individuals to reclaim their lives and reintegrate into society without the need to return to substance use.

Despite repeated calls and extensive efforts, the lack of commitment from government bodies to support the establishment of the facility is deeply concerning. It is imperative that stakeholders recognise the urgency of the situation and allocate the necessary resources to bring this vital project to fruition.”


Our Vision & Values

WRAD HEALTH’s vision is to advance the health and wellbeing of those in the South Western Region of Victoria affected by Addictive behaviours and to promote optimal enjoyment of life.

WRAD HEALTH seeks to provide comprehensive, holistic support and treatment to individuals and others affected by addictive behaviors and associated issues.

The philosophy of harm minimisation underpins the delivery of all programs offered by WRAD HEALTH. This principle recognises that people in our society use both licit and illicit drugs, and that drugs can be used in ways that are more or less harmful to individuals, families and society. Harm minimisation offers a number of options designed to reduce the harm of drug use to the user and society.


Need After Hours Help?

Emergency call 000
For medical issues call South West Healthcare 55 631666
For mental health issues call SWH emergency dep't 55 631 666 or 1800 808 284
For drug and alcohol issues call Directline 1800 888 236
For Lifeline call 13 11 14
Or click on the links below for help.