Victorian Greens push injecting rooms for kids and pregnant women

The controversial plan aims to expand access to the state's only supervised injecting facility.

Victorian Greens push injecting rooms for kids and pregnant women
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The Victorian Greens have proposed a shocking plan to allow minors, pregnant women and individuals with court orders to use the state's sole supervised injecting room in North Richmond.

This week, legislation to make the facility permanent will be debated in parliament, with the Greens planning to introduce comprehensive amendments to the bill.

According to Greens' drug harm spokesman Aiv Puglielli, these amendments are "based on expert health recommendations".

Puglielli asserted that the government should support the expansion of safe injecting facilities in areas where drug use affects communities and leads to fatalities, rather than dismissing expert health advice.

He explained that providing medical supervision for those using injectable drugs would prevent more deaths and protect communities from harm.

As the Greens advocate for broader access, the state Opposition is seeking to introduce its own amendments to relocate the facility entirely.

Currently situated next to Richmond West primary school, the injecting room has raised concerns among the school community about safety.

The opposition's amendments stipulate that any permanent drug injecting room must be at least 250 meters away from education or care services, mandate annual reports from service providers for increased transparency, and require directors of injecting rooms to pass a "fit and proper person" test. Police union boss Wayne Gatt has endorsed the latter requirement.

Gatt stated that the amendments seem to address the public's longstanding concerns about the facility's location and its impact on the local community, a sentiment shared by his union members.

Opposition Mental Health spokeswoman Emma Kealy argued that the amendments aim to strike a "sensible balance" by ensuring that injecting rooms are not located near primary schools in the future, citing the school community's serious concerns about drug-related incidents and crime.

A government spokesman commented that Richmond West Primary School is being supported to guarantee the safety of all students and staff through measures like new secure fencing, CCTV coverage, and additional supervision during pick-up and drop-off times.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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