News & Events

Odyssey NSW response to 2022 NSW State Budget

in News
23 Jun 2022

The NSW Budget has failed to address significant and sustained increases in demand over the COVID-19 pandemic for drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

Odyssey House NSW today expressed disappointment at the lack to measures in the NSW Budget to address spiralling demand for drug and alcohol services, and the desperate need for drug reform.

Latest figures show demand is at an all-time high, with an 18 per cent increase in clients treated and no sign of demand returning to pre-pandemic levels.

CEO Julie Babineau praised the NSW Budget’s $33 billion investment in health and their plan to recruit more than 10,000 full-time equivalent staff to hospitals.

But she said similar issues in the rehabilitation sector had been ignored.

“The pandemic has created a perfect storm for the sector,” Ms Babineau said.

“People often turn to alcohol and other drugs to cope, which has led to increasing demand on our services.

“At the same time, pandemic restrictions mean there have been fewer beds and services available, and at critical times, even fewer workers.”

Ms Babineau also called for action on the 109 recommendations made by the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug Ice.

“It has now been 28 months since the NSW government received the recommendations of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’ from its own Commissioner, Professor Dan Howard SC,” Ms Babineau said.

“After spending more than $10 million dollars on the Inquiry, the NSW Budget did not provide any response to these recommendations, and the urgent action required to improve access to alcohol and other drugs treatment and tackle the workforce crisis within the sector.”