'We need the commitment' opposing rehab petition emerges
UNITED by a "sense of panic” Rockhampton residents feeling a drug rehabilitation centre is slipping through their fingers have come together to ensure the facility is not relocated to another region.
They want the government to commit to Rockhampton and have launched a petition to make it happen.
Terrica Strudwick said the petition was an opportunity for people who felt silenced in the debate to have their say.
"We really need the commitment that it's going to be built in Rockhampton,” Ms Strudwick said.
A commitment would calm the sense of uncertainty travelling through the town following the residential rehabilitation centre community forum in early July, according to Ms Strudwick.
She said the crowd's reaction had made her feel as though the rehabilitation centre may never be constructed.
She was appalled by the forum but it united like-minded individuals who are now working together to get people struggling with addiction the help they need.
Together they have drafted the petition to the Queensland Parliament.
"Your petitioners request the house formally recognise alcohol and other drug treatment as an essential public health service and recommit to building a new residential rehabilitation facility in Rockhampton,” the petition reads.
The group also launched the Substance Addiction Fresh Future Facebook page as a way to drum up support for people affected by drugs.
"This isn't just about illicit drugs, this is also alcohol and other drugs,” Ms Strudwick said.
"We want the community to be able to provide support so when they can go to rehabilitation they aren't going to fall back into the same circles.”
The Facebook page says it's now time to "put aside our fear based prejudices, educate ourselves and work together to get this centre built”.
"Other people's lives depend on us being able to work together.”
Ms Strudwick said the group wanted to see local politicians from both sides of politics collaborate to provide for the region.
Rather than focusing on where the facility is going she said the group wanted the focus to be on the facility being constructed.
Queensland Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies chief executive Rebecca Lang said residential rehab centres were essential health services and created jobs and services to benefit the whole community.
"We've known for a long time that there is a lack of services in Central Queensland in particular, which means people that require this intervention have to travel outside the region, which is a barrier for people looking for support,” she said.
Ms Lang was asked to be the principal petitioner after residents approached her with fears of repercussions if they put their name to the cause.
The offices of Keppel MP Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke were not aware of the petition.
The petition is available for residents to sign at Yesteryears, 104 William St from 10am to 6pm.