An alcohol body which does important alcohol and drugs work has been stripped of its funding by the federal government.
The government has blamed its review of the funding of several organisations on the former Labor government.
The Alcohol body has been operating since 1966 and provided research and advocacy relating to the health, economic and social harm caused by the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in the community.
Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia said in a statement on its website that Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash had made the decision to cease providing funding to the organisation with immediate effect and unfortunately most of the non-profit organisation’s funding was coming from the Federal Health Department which means they can no longer afford to operate.
The following excerpt from an article on News.Ninemsn.com.au explains:
A spokeswoman for Senator Nash said the previous Labor government had left behind a projected net debt of $200 billion “and a coalition government has had to review the funding of a number of organisations”.
The spokeswoman said the government sought advice on alcohol and drugs policy from wide-ranging sources and funded several national peak organisations.
Australian Greens health spokesman Dr Richard Di Natale said the decision was an attempt by the government to stymie debate about illicit drugs policy.
“The Abbott government is determined to hide evidence, sideline experts and silence advocates,” said Senator Di Natale, a former drug and alcohol clinician.
Senator Di Natale went on to accuse the federal government of breaking an election promise because the coalition pledged not to cut health spending, yet it is one of the first things they have done.
The Senator was critical of the Abbott government saying that they were determined to hide evidence, side-line the experts and silence the advocates.
The Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia was an important body in the country with a history of advocating harm minimisation. Its latest calls were for school leavers to avoid lethal mixes of alcohol and drugs during schoolies week.
The article goes on to explain:
Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said the decision to abolish the body beggared belief.
“It has decades of policy and advocacy experience in this sector,” Ms King said in a statement.
An annual ADCA meeting scheduled for November 28 in Brisbane has been cancelled.
The chairman of the organisation, Dr Mal Washer said that it was a “hell of a loss”. One professor said “in 46 years, this is the only government that has decided it can do without Adca’s advice,” the professor is Professor Ian Webster AO.
The Australian government seeks advice on alcohol and drugs policy from a variety of sources in the sector and funds a number of national peak body organisations. According to Minister Nash part of the decision was taking into consideration that ADCA has been experiencing “financial difficulties”. She said the organisation’s debt would be covered by the federal government as much as possible.