Mount Gambier has missed out on drug and alcohol funding from the federal government, despite once being dubbed ‘Australia’s ice capital’.
The South Australian town was not included in federal health minister Greg Hunt’s $20 million funding announcement which will provide grants of up to $2.5 million to substance abuse services.
The city set the scene for virtual reality production Cold As Ice last year, where director Jamie Harding interviewed more than 60 ice addicts.
Mount Gambier Councillor and former addict Kate Amoroso (pictured) is disappointed South Australia’s second largest city missed out on federal funding for drug and alcohol services
It also hosted the Federal Government’s first national Ice Taskforce community meeting in 2015.
Mount Gambier Councillor and former ice addict Kate Amoroso told Daily Mail Australia the federal funding snub was shattering and heartbreaking for the local community.
‘It’s a mix of emotions from anger and disappointment to heartbreak that Mount Gambier has missed out yet again on vital health funding,’ she said
‘The nearest drug rehabilitation centre from here is 500 kilometres away. Nor do we have a detox unit. ‘My heart bleeds for these people.’
Cr Amoroso (pictured) was battling an ice addiction four years ago
Cr Amoroso told Daily Mail Australia she had to get help in Adelaide, which is 434 kilometres away when she was battling ice addiction.
It’s now been four years since she last touched the drug.
‘I tried suicide several times. I was in an awful, awful dark place,’ the former model previously recalled.
‘The kids said I sat on the sofa for that whole time popping pills and smoking and injecting ice. It’s just the initial rush that makes you feel like superwoman – that first breath is when you think that life is good but the come down is horrendous. I was mixing it with 12 different tablets that I was on four times a day for my conditions.’
Mount Gambier (pictured) was once described as one of Australia’s ice capitals
‘It’s a mix of emotions from anger and disappointment to heartbreak that Mount Gambier has missed out yet again on vital health funding,’ Cr Amoroso (pictured) told Daily Mail Australia
The local federal Liberal MP for the area has defended the minister’s decision.
Federal Barker MP Tony Pasin said the eight areas eligible for funding were identified by evidence-based research and were in ‘most in need of this support.’
They includes the Fleurieu region, Peterborough and Mid North, Port Augusta, Ceduna, Murray Bridge, Playford, Port Adelaide and Onkaparinga.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced a $20 million funding boost for South Australia last week as part of the government’s crackdown against ice (pictured)
Mr Pasin suggested local services providers partner with organisations in areas that will receive funding such as Murray Bridge, which is 360 kilometres away.
‘Local service providers, many of whom operate in areas of need like Murray bridge and Mount Gambier, can apply — and they should,’ Mr Pasin told the ABC.
‘And I’ve been working with them in terms of applications.’
Federal Barker MP Tony Pasin (pictured) has defended the minister’s decision, despite his area missing out on funding which will provide grants of up to $2.5 million to substance abuse services
Cr Amoroso believes partnering with services in other areas is unviable and accused Mr Pasin of having no compassion for the local community.
‘Mr Pasin’s comments are so off the mark,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
Carol Canala-Coleman who runs an inpatient rehabilitation clinic in the region also described the funding snub as ‘appalling’.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mr Pasin and the health minister’s office for further comment.