LV Drug Court

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (19:57): (1795) My adjournment matter this evening is for the Attorney-General, and it relates to drug and alcohol treatment orders for people with related dependencies who have committed associated criminal offences. The action I seek from the minister is to consult with key stakeholders and establish a drug and alcohol treatment court in the Latrobe Valley. Victoria’s first Drug Court was in Dandenong in 2002, and later there was one in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2017, with the purpose of imposing drug and alcohol treatment orders—DATOs. An order consists of a custodial sentence, not exceeding two years, to be served in the community to allow the participant to receive drug and/or alcohol treatment. Treatment supervision is aimed at addressing the participant’s drug or alcohol dependency. Supervision of the participant is the responsibility of the Drug Court magistrate, with the support of various caseworkers, clinical advisers, counsellors, the police and the defence counsel, which can include Victoria Legal Aid. These supports are essential to help participants achieve their treatment, recover, come clean and establish a new life and to reduce those reoffending cases that would cancel a DATO. The main aim of a DATO of course is to reduce recidivism and to provide significant health benefits to the participants and forward savings through the diversion of imprisonment and related crime. In the Latrobe Valley—and these are not good statistics; these are sad statistics, but they are true statistics—from 2014 to last year, 2021, drug-related criminal incidents within the Latrobe Valley area had increased by 38 per cent. Drug use and possession in the Latrobe Valley had also risen by 45 per cent. Now, we see that there has been an expansion to the Deputy President’s region, to Shepparton, of the Drug Court and to Ballarat and a pilot place in the County Court in Melbourne. The Attorney has said and gone on record stating that the community needs to establish a reason and prosecute the case and also they need to consult with key stakeholders. Well, I say these statistics are actually a clear indication that it is needed in Central Gippsland, that the Latrobe Valley needs that support. People, communities, in this area need to have this support. So my action is to ask the minister to make sure that the government consults with key stakeholders to make sure that this is right, make sure the parameters are right and establish a Drug Court in the Latrobe Valley so that we can get people back on the road to great health with good intervention.