Closure foreshadowed for indigenous rehab

Karen Sweeney

The head of an indigenous drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre believes it will have to stop taking clients from September because of federal government funding cuts.

Services provided by the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council in South Australia can't continue without ongoing funding for its main body, its chief executive Scott Wilson says.

The council receives $4.5 million a year from the federal government to operate a residential rehabilitation centre in Port Augusta and two day centres in Ceduna and Port Augusta.

But Mr Wilson says he received a call last week, during reconciliation week, to say while funding for the facilities would continue they'd stop receiving $700,000 a year for administrative facilities and wages, including his own, from January 1.

"When you don't actually have the legal entity being funded you can't actually operate the other services at all," he told Sky News.

"It's almost like having an airline but no airport to land."

He said the cut would mean staff could only be offered six month contracts and the residential treatment centre would probably stop taking clients from September this year.

"Without us there is simply no voice," Mr Wilson said in a statement.

"We need the funding back. We have so many clients in crisis who need our help."

A spokesman for Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said the service would receive $1.38 million a year to continue providing alcohol and drug treatment services until June 2020, and six months funding for the promotion and peak body.

"The minister is absolutely focused on delivering the best outcomes... and does not apologise for holding service providers like Mr Wilson to account for the outcomes they deliver," he said.