Monday, 7 July 2008

Permanence urged for injecting room

The operators of Australia's only legal drug injecting room are appealing for the Sydney facility to be given permanent status after its director resigned in frustration.

The director, Dr Ingrid Van Beek, says the "ambivalent" New South Wales Government continues to keep the Kings Cross centre on a trial basis, despite eight years of successful operation.

Uniting Care has been the licensed operator since the centre opened in 2001. Its executive director, Reverend Harry Herbert, says political opposition was led by former prime minister John Howard.

Rev Herbert says it is time to recognise the centre as a legitimate institution.

"Now that he's gone, this is not a big political issue any longer," he said.

"It's operated for more than seven years quite successfully. It's been evaluated continually and all the evaluations have been successful, so it really ought to now be regarded as a mainstream health facility...

"I appreciate there was some nervousness about creating a political issue around the centre, but we're well beyond that now."

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