Greens health spokesperson Colleen Hartland says a supervised injecting centre in Richmond is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to reduce the harm caused by drug addiction.
“After this trial, I want to make sure that this becomes the first of a number of supervised injecting centres around Melbourne and Victoria,” she said.
“I have been campaigning for a supervised injecting centre in my local neighbourhood of Footscray for decades, and I know people in my local community will be watching closely and hoping we can save lives there too.”
“It's no coincidence that we're seeing the government take action as the Greens close in on Labor-held inner city seats in Northcote, Richmond and Brunswick.”
“But I really hope this isn't simply an attempt to win votes. I hope this is a turning point for Victoria, where the government is genuinely committed to treating drug use as a health issue.”
“That means the government needs to stop the obsession with arrests which just clogs up our courts and prisons. It's costing us billions and it's getting us nowhere.”
“We need to divert resources into drug treatment and mental healthcare, and social support to address unemployment and homelessness which too often go hand-in-hand with drug use.”
“And if the government is serious they will commit to other life-saving measures like lab-grade pill testing at festivals and an early warning system when particularly bad batches of drugs hit the market.”
“Today's announcement is very much welcome, and I commend the government for taking this on.”
“I am really happy for the Richmond community, they have endured a desperate situation for far too long. And I want to congratulate the advocacy from the local ground Victoria Street Drug Solutions.”
“This is a big win for them and for all of us who have worked so hard to save lives.”
“I'm sure this is also an emotional day for many people who have lost loved ones, wondering if their sister or mother or nephew could have been saved if only action was taken sooner.”
“This is only the beginning and we'll be working hard to ensure that we're not just saving lives in Richmond but across the whole of Victoria.”