Department Of Health Concedes It Won’t Be Ready For New Public Drunk Laws

“We’re working incredibly hard”

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Officials have warned Victoria’s new system to deal with public drunkenness will be far from perfect when the laws are introduced on Melbourne Cup.  

Earlier this week, the Department of Health conceded “we will be learning as we’re going” as the state abolishes the ability to arrest people drunk on the streets and instead will be sent to “sobering-up” centres.

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The department’s revelations have sparked calls for the state government to delay the implementation of the new laws.

Department of Health deputy secretary Katherine Whetton said in evidence before the Yoorrook Justice Commission said the health response would not be correctly established in time for November 7. 

“We stand ready as soon as we’ve got those providers on board to really do what it takes to have it in place by November,” she said.

“We’re working incredibly hard to have the very best possible service response in place and working on whatever is needed.”

Trials of the program are being conducted in the City of Yarra, Castlemaine, Dandenong and Shepparton, however have been delayed as sites are not fully operational. 

Dandenong are not yet running a comprehensive trial, while the three other locations have only just began running operational trials.

The latest warnings come after Victoria Police raised immediate concerns about the introduction of the program on the state’s booziest day of the year.

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Tricia Mifsud

2 May 2023

Article by:

Tricia Mifsud

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