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Thursday, 24 May 2012
Page: 5580

Mrs MARKUS ( Macquarie ) ( 09:36 ): There is an outstanding organisation in my electorate that has been making a difference in people's lives for over 35 years. 'ONE80TC Turning lives' around runs a highly successful treatment and rehabilitation program for young men aged 18 to 35 years with life-controlling difficulties such as addictive, impulsive and compulsive behaviours, and issues of neglect, anger and self-esteem. Often the treatment is as much about broken relationships as it is about broken lives.

They come to the program voluntarily, or by referral, and ONE80TC shows them a way to turn their lives around. Through well-proven support programs generations of broken young men are learning new skills, opening themselves to personal growth and embracing leadership. They and their families deserve our compassion and our support for their journey back from the abyss.

The very nature of the work means that the government grant moneys are needed. Despite its exceptional record of success, ONE80TC has not secured funding in the latest round—not even an extension of funding for current programs. The Department of Health and Ageing website states that funding extensions were granted where service gaps have been identified. ONE80TC has a proven track record and has demonstrated amazing outcomes with previous funding from the department.

Mark Hill, CEO of ONE80TC, has contacted the department with regard to this decision. He has challenged them to provide feedback about how they could determine that if ONE80TC did not continue to receive funding there would not be a gap in the services provided. ONE80TC is the only residential rehabilitation organisation in the entire Hawkesbury-Londonderry area that offers 24/7 care to men aged 18 to 35 years—for example: expanding bed availability from 30 to 50 beds and commencing an intern program, which has resulted in five full-time placements; implementing and successfully running a 60-day program as a precursor to the 12-month program; and expanding the program to include an after-care, extended-care department which contacts over 40 men and their families per week. Often support is practical, such as food supply and work placement.

The submission to the department included letters of support from other prominent community organisations, such as from Gael Rao, acting director of the Nepean Blue Mountains health district, who wrote, 'The submission of ONE80TC is in line with the National Drugs Strategy 2010-2015, and complements the local health district strategies.'

Without funding, vital work cannot continue and 50 beds will close, with 20 staff to lose their jobs. How can the Gillard Labor government's budget be about jobs if staff in ONE80TC lose theirs? More importantly, what will happen to those young men who need help, not just now but into the future? My question is to the minister, and I would like the minister to explain what he would do to support and continue supporting this vital program?