WRAD has welcomed Warrnambool City Council’s decision to support its VCAT application to amend prescribed staffing levels for the Lookout Residential Rehabilitation Centre.

WRAD Director Geoff Soma said this extremely important project was supported by local businesses, philanthropic trusts, Rotary Club of Warrnambool Central, local health agencies, community organisations and Aboriginal partnerships.

WRAD believes that the decision in relation to staffing numbers made by VCAT in August 2019 has had an unintended consequence and makes the project unviable. “This positive decision made by WCC has been welcomed by the WRAD committee of management and will be a significant boost to our case,” Mr Soma said.

“There has been strong evidence presented to support the Lookout at 43 Atkinson’s lane based on the collective experience and expertise of current residential rehabilitation providers. These services have established a benchmark for residential rehabilitation centres to be modelled; including staffing ratios, policies, procedures and operational guidelines.”

Mr Soma said WRAD believed that the VCAT condition prescribing greater staffing levels was not economically viable or clinically required. “The Therapeutic Community model relies on so much more than staffing and it utilises a tried and proven method that operates safely and effectively.

“WRAD has been working on this important project for more than three and a half years and residential rehabilitation is required urgently to support clients with complex alcohol and other drug related issues. A significant investment in time and money and care has been taken to reach this point and our drive is to provide hope and effective support to people and families in need.

“We welcome Warrnambool City Council’s support and the ongoing support from the broader community.”

The application will be heard at VCAT on February 25-26 in Melbourne. If successful, WRAD will work with the Government and the community to establish a residential treatment facility in Dennington.