The Victorian Government has engaged former Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay AO APM to lead the consultation process for a second Supervised Injecting Room (SIR), to be based in the City of Melbourne.
Mr Lay will work with health and drug reform experts to analyse data and evidence on drug harms within the City of Melbourne and oversee a comprehensive engagement process, seeking the views of all interested parties on the preferred site, including experts, community representatives, businesses and other key stakeholders.
This consultation process will consider drug activity and harms, existing health and social services, safety and amenity, transport options, policing and infrastructure requirements. This work will then be collated with a report presented to the Minister for Health by the end of 2020.
What is within scope for consultation?
The consultation process will consider:
- drug activity and harms
- existing health and social services
- safety and amenity
- the environment around the proposed supervised injecting room
- transport options, policing and infrastructure limitations of the site
Why did the Government announce a second trial site?
On 5 June, the Government accepted all the recommendations made by the Independent Review Panel into Victoria’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Room.
This included a key recommendation to establish a second site in the City of Melbourne, where tragically 51 Victorians died of heroin-related causes between January 2015 and September 2019 and which has the second highest ambulance attendances for heroin overdoses after the City of Yarra.
The second SIR site will help take pressure off the current North Richmond service, reduce the burden on ambulance and hospital service and most importantly save lives.
Is there a preferred location?
The Victorian Government’s preferred site for the second service is cohealth Central City.
As one of the largest community health services in Victoria, cohealth’s diverse range of established health and social services and central location means it is considered a suitable site for a proposed second Safe Injecting Room facility
What are the next steps?
Mr Lay is committed to overseeing a consultation process that provides the opportunity for a range of stakeholders to have their voices heard, including members of the public, residents, traders, health experts and people with lived experience of addiction.
The formal consultation process will be undertaken in two key phases.
The first phase will focus on speaking with health and drug reform experts, analysing key data and seeking advice from a range of stakeholders to ensure there is a good representation of views about the proposal. This consultation will be undertaken in September and October. Following this, a broad community consultation – including with businesses, residents and people with lived experience of addiction – will be undertaken.
Initial meetings with community stakeholders have informed the development of this consultation process. Importantly, COVID considerations have also been taken into account in determining that the community consultations will occur closer to the end of the year, when there is greater chance of face-to-face engagement.
Mr Lay will present a report to the Minister for Health by the end of 2020.
How can people contribute to the consultation process?
Interested community parties who wish to contribute formally should register their interest by filling in the form below.
Ahead of the second phase of consultation, members of the public and other key community stakeholders are invited to provide information or put their views via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please refer back to this page regularly for updates on consultation details and timings.
Consultation Terms of Reference
On 5 June 2020, the Victorian Government announced it had accepted the recommendations of the independent review of Victoria’s first Medically Supervised Injecting Room at North Richmond. A second supervised injecting room will be established in the City of Melbourne, where there were 51 heroin-related deaths between January 2015 and September 2019, 25 of which were in non-residential locations (the second highest number in the state behind the City of Yarra). The City of Melbourne is also second to the City of Yarra in the number of ambulance attendances for heroin overdoses.
A second supervised injecting room in the City of Melbourne will take the pressure off the established North Richmond site, reduce the burden on Victoria’s already stretched ambulance and hospital system and link people who already inject in the City of Melbourne to services and supports which will ultimately save lives.
The Victorian Government’s preferred site for the second service is cohealth Central City, 53 Victoria Street. As one of the largest community health services in Victoria, cohealth’s diverse range of established health and social services mean it is well located to be a site for a second facility.
The Government will work with health and drug reform experts, Victoria Police and the City of Melbourne and will engage with stakeholders. By the end of 2020, a final site for the supervised injecting room will be selected within the City of Melbourne.
To achieve this, the government will appoint former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Ken Lay AO, APM to lead the consultation for the government.
Role of Ken Lay AO, APM
Mr Lay will lead the consultation process to compile evidence and data to inform the advice to government on the final site selection and actions to maintain and enhance safety and amenity.
Mr Lay will consider: drug activity and harms; existing health and social services; safety and amenity; the built environment; transport and policing and infrastructure limitations of the site (including factors that would prevent timely delivery of a supervised injecting room in the City of Melbourne).
Specifically, the responsibilities of Mr Lay are to:
- work with health and drug reform experts to collect and analyse relevant data and evidence related to identified factors
- oversee a public community engagement process on site selection, actively seeking the views of people who inject drugs, residents, businesses and other key stakeholders (including Victoria Police, the City of Melbourne, health and community services and other authorities), including on the preferred site and actions to maintain and enhance safety and amenity
- report to the Minister for Health by the end of 2020 on site selection and actions to maintain and enhance safety and amenity for a supervised injecting room in the City of Melbourne.
Mr Lay may conduct the above activity in relation to alternative sites identified by the City of Melbourne at the direction of the Minister for Mental Health.