HACSU and its members welcome the repeal of public drunkenness laws by the Andrews Labor Government. For too long we’ve known that such legislative provisions disproportionately affect our most vulnerable Australians.
However, it is our firm belief that upon repealing such legislation, a range of harm reduction measures must be implemented to ensure that at-risk community members and the police force are supported moving forward. To this end, HACSU and its members call on the Andrews Labor Government to consider the following proposals:
- As part of the infrastructure investment, Labor should move to build appropriate dry out spaces staffed with alcohol and other drugs workers, mental health nurses and social workers with appropriate safety and security measures for vulnerable community members who cannot be left in public under the influence.
- Labor should move to employ specialist on-call outreach teams comprising of alcohol and other drugs workers, mental health nurses and social workers who are able to assist the police force in getting community members home safely.
- Labor should move to ensure that should specialist medical teams or dry out spaces be full and there is no other option than for a community member to be taken to a police station for safety reasons, that each police station be staffed with a mental health nurse and alcohol and other drugs worker for the duration of their stay to ensure that they can be monitored safely.
HACSU and its members believe that this is the appropriate way forward to deliver targeted health-responses for the needs of our community while simultaneously assisting our first responders and emergency departments in keeping admission rates low at this crucial time.