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Delays In Opening Of Melbourne Alcohol Sobering Centre Raise Concerns

With just over a week left until Victoria’s public drunkenness laws are set to be overhauled, concerns are mounting due to delays in the opening of a new alcohol sobering centre in Melbourne. 

The legal reform, which aims to decriminalise public drunkenness are scheduled to come into effect on Melbourne Cup Day, November 7, 2023.

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These reforms were prompted by the tragic death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day in 2017 and were passed by Victoria’s parliament early in 2021. 

The alcohol treatemenet facility is being established in Cambridge Street, Collingwoodd. It will be operated by non-profit community health organisation cohealth, treating more than 140 patients each week.

However, it has been confirmed that the facility is facing weeks of delay in its construction and refurbishment, raising concerns that the state might not be adequately prepared for the imminent changes in the law.

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Mental Health Minister Ingrid Stitt acknowledged that there had been “a number of minor delays” in the construction and refurbishment of the Collingwood facility. 

“I’ll be making sure that service is up and running as soon as practicable but I do want to make sure it’s opening up in a way that is safe and appropriate and that all the issues that are being ironed out over the next couple of days are complete and it’s ready to take people who are in need,” she said.

Mr Stitt said the facility in Collingwood would open “at speed”, and a trail site on Gertrude Street which has already been operating for 12 months would help take patients in.

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