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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Officially opened: Walawaani Youth-Specific Detoxification and Rehabilitation Facility

The Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP officially opened the Walawaani Youth-Specific Detoxification and Rehabilitation Facility near Batemans Bay, hosted by Mission Australia. The opening was attended by Fiona Phillips MP representing the Hon. Mark Butler MP the Minister for Health, the Governor General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC, as well as other distinguished guests, community leaders, and representatives from Mission Australia. In Opening the facility the Member for Gilmore said “We know that supportive environments are critical to achieving lasting positive results for those dealing with addiction. Local young people deserve to have good quality facilities located in our communities to give them the best chance of recovery and I am proud to be supporting that with $8 million from the Australian Government.”

Establishing this facility is an important step towards ensuring our younger community members are supported throughout their recovery journey – and can safely return to the community and their everyday lives.

The Mission Australia – Triple Care Farm South Coast project received $8 million in federal funding from the Community Health and Hospitals Program (CHHP) to establish Walawaani, an alcohol and other drugs (AOD) residential rehabilitation program for young people aged 16-24 in the Batemans Bay area.

Image: 2EC Establishing facilities like Walawaani in regional communities like East Lynne allows vulnerable younger people to receive treatment and support for alcohol and drug misuse close to their homes.

Walawaani is a 10-bed residential rehabilitation program that provides a 12-week holistic program incorporating an individual support plan, residential living skills, individual and group counselling, education, and sports and recreation programs.

Walawaani is modelled on the success of Mission Australia’s first youth residential rehabilitation program, the 40-year-old Triple Care Farm in NSW’s Southern Highlands.

Triple Care Farm offers young people withdrawal, rehabilitation and aftercare programs and has helped thousands of graduates take control of their lives and their futures through the years.

The funding for Mission Australia’s purchase of the Walawaani facility and service funding was provided by the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Walawaani’s first residents arrived in early February 2023.

Walawaani is a Dhurga word, the first language of the NSW far south coast between Wandandean, Braidwood, and Wallaga Lake. It is a greeting that means “we hope you had a safe journey here" or “we hope you have a safe journey home.”

Thanks to Mission Australia's partnership with the Sir David Martin Foundation, everyone completing the program will be offered six months of aftercare support as they transition back into the community.

This aftercare support is an evidence-based model of care that involves a Mission Australia Aftercare Worker keeping in touch with the young person while offering practical advice and mentoring.

This gives young people the best chance to maintain the positive changes they have made and avoid the cycle of addiction.

Mission Australia’s CEO Sharon Callister said:

"Young people must have a safe place to recover from drugs and alcohol when they are ready to receive support.

“We know that young people have the capacity to make sustained, positive changes in their lives when they’re given access to supports they need, when they need them.

"We are proud that Walawaani will offer high levels of care for young people needing rehabilitation support.

"Unfortunately, there is a critical shortage of residential rehabilitation facilities geared toward young people in Australia, which is why we are opening Walawaani today

"When a young person experiencing illicit drug or alcohol abuse is motivated to seek change, appropriate rehabilitation facilities like Walawaani must be available.

"This new facility spread over 17 acres of natural bushland will allow young adults to be nurtured through rehabilitation and mentored through a return to their families or into housing and employment or study.

"There is a growing demand for such services, and we hope these service models can be expanded to other locations, including in rural, remote, and regional areas.

“This wonderful new facility will provide the young people with the support they need, when and where they need it,” said Ms Callister.


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