FOR SALE: IWC director Sterling Eggmolesse at the IWC Farm Stay property. The property is now on the market.
FOR SALE: IWC director Sterling Eggmolesse at the IWC Farm Stay property. The property is now on the market. SImon Young

They tried to turn it into rehab but govt says 'no, no, no'

A POTENTIAL residential drug rehabilitation facility site has been taken off the table and the property sold after three years of government delays.

This comes as the State Government says it doesn't have plans to build a rehab in Bundy.

The sale follows a 2016 community forum into substance abuse in Bundaberg region which identified the need for a residential drug rehabilitation facility and IWC's home farm as a potential site.

But now the community-run health and well-being organisation is selling the Calavos property.

Just 13 minutes from the Bundaberg CBD, nestled in a quiet location surrounded by farmland, the property offered hope to people seeking rehabilitation from ice and other substance abuse.

"The IWC Home Farm formerly was the Yaamba Men's Hostel until it closed in 2011," IWC general manager Wayne Mulvany said.

"In 2015, it was acquired by IWC, and we have undertaken renovations and repairs so it could be put to a suitable community use."

In 2016, IWC worked with key stakeholders including the Primary Health Network, Bundaberg Hospital, Queensland Health and the Queensland Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies to deliver the Bundaberg Region Community Ice Forum.


FOR SALE: IWC's Farm Stay property which was entrusted to IWC by the Federal Government is now on the market.
FOR SALE: IWC's Farm Stay property which was entrusted to IWC by the Federal Government is now on the market. IWC

More than 80 delegates from 46 organisations participated in the solution-seeking forum, which looked at the impact of Ice and other substances on the region.

Bundaberg region people seeking residential rehabilitation are required to travel outside the region.

In October 2016, a working party including three levels of government politicians was held at the property.

"Since then, our community has had promises from politicians, but nothing delivered," Mr Mulvany said.

"The LNP made a commitment to build a residential rehabilitation facility should it gain power at the last election.

"Labor won. Since then, Bundaberg community's calls for help around residential rehabilitation have continued to be ignored by federal and state governments."

Now a Queensland Health spokeswoman said the State did not have any current plans for an alcohol and other drug residential rehabilitation service in Bundaberg.

"The new 42-bed residential rehabilitation treatment facility planned for Rockhampton will help service the needs of people in the central region of Queensland," she said.

"All Queensland residential rehabilitation services accept referrals from across the state."

Mr Mulvany said the decision by IWC to sell the property had not been easy.

"We are a registered charity and are co-funding the expansion of our services through the $19.8 million Stage 2 expansion of the IWC Health & Wellbeing Complex as well as continually listening to and exploring new ways we can assist our communities," he said.

In response to this news Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said rehabilitation was a State issue.

"Drug and alcohol rehabilitation is predominantly a State Government responsibility, however the Coalition Government recently announced the Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN will receive $553,558 per year for the next three years for alcohol and other drug treatment services," he said.

A PHN spokesperson said they undertook extensive consultation with the community to look at what was needed.

"As a result of this consultation, IWC was commissioned by the PHN to deliver drug and alcohol support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the region, and continues to deliver under the quantum of funding available," they said.

An open home will be next week and the IWC is looking for offers over $699,000. Inquiries to Sharon Jackson, of Integrity Property Solutions, on 4159 6854.

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