Baw Baw encouraging drug addiction and support centre submissions
 Baw Baw News   By // 19:51, Monday 13 November 2017

Baw Baw Shire is encouraging community input on plans to use the former Athlone Primary School site as a drug addiction education and support centre.

Victoria’s Department of Education owns the non-operational site and has agreed to lease it to Drouin-based community organisation Ice Meltdown Project. All abutting land except Drouin-Korumburra Road itself is zoned for farming.

A report on the plan, distributed by the council, states the site would primarily be used as “an education centre which up-skills people who have committed themselves to being drug – free.”


“The proposed use is to provide educational classes and workshops in maintaining healthy and productive lifestyles.

“The site will be used by patrons who have completed an… eight-week rehabilitation program [at home and at their doctor’s surgery].

“Once this program has been undertaken they are welcomed into the centre where they are given the opportunity to rebuild basic life skill sets which will enable them to develop good hygiene, health, job interview skills, and stress coping skills to prevent relapses into drug addiction.”

Baw Baw Shire responded to concerns about the application by holding two drop-in information sessions in Athlone, which it states were “well attended by the local community.”


The council has since made a public appeal for further submissions.

A council spokesperson said community members have raised concerns about “safety of the community and program participants, access to emergency services, [and] future development of the land beyond the current building footprint”.

“The community expressed a desire to meet with the Department of Education to discuss this matter further, and welcome (sic) the opportunity to meet with the Minister.\

“Council invites and encourages the community to capture their concerns in a formal submission during the Notice of Application for a planning permit, which is open until 5.00pm on Friday 17 November.

“Residents can make a submission by email to or in writing addressed to the Planning Department, Baw Baw Shire Council, PO Box 304, Warragul, VIC 3820. Submissions must also include the name and address of the submitter and the application number.”

A PDF of the report quoted above can also be found by clicking here.

Image: the former school site at 930 Drouin-Korumburra Road. Photo from report.

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7 responses to “Baw Baw encouraging drug addiction and support centre submissions”

  1. Roger Marks says:

    Having heard some of the stories of former drug addicts who no longer are because of the great work these people are doing, it seems logical that all concerned would do all they could to help them expand their operation to the next phase of rescuing former drug addicts and putting them on the road to recovery and normality again.

  2. Sue Brown says:

    The fantastic work that these people have achieved in the community should be celebrated. When a property is leased out you really have no idea who is really renting it. But the Ice meltdown project are up front and have integrity and history on their side. Allowing this group the opportunity to re-teach an ex drug addict living skills, so they are more able to successfully re-enter society and be an asset to the community would be such a positive solution.

  3. Teresa Ayto says:

    These people are doing fantastic work in the community helping people get off drugs, the community needs a facility like this to help recovering addicts with life skills so they are ready to enter society and be positive members of the community, addiction can happen to anyone it can be anyones child addicts and those recovering need understanding compassion and help to do so.

  4. Zane knights says:

    TIMP is fantastic and such a great help to the community who are actually making a difference, but to further benefit members and provide more help a facility like this would be perfect and in no way is a danger or risk to anyone.

  5. Peter Smith says:

    TIMP is in no way collaborating with the state funded drug services which are endorsed by the government. The TIMP processes leave a lot to be desired and their methods of treatment do not meet the guidelines recommended for drug rehabilitation. There is a real risk of these private organisations causing harm to clients as they are not delivering services in a way that is safe and effective for clients. We don’t let inappropriately qualified people act as doctors so I am not sure why it’s allowed for drug rehab. These clients are vulnerable and should be supported with evidence based, government approved services.

  6. Sharon says:

    Is there really a GAP in the public health system with relation to drug rehabilitation in the locality of Warragul and Drouin? Is the government lacking so badly in the department of caring for individuals suffering from drug addiction that there needs to be a religious based service implemented to address the problem that according to local advocates ”are in epic proportions in Drouin and Warragul”?.

    I decided to look into the matter myself and found that upon calling the local services available in Drouin and Warragul, that Latrobe Community Health service are doing an outstanding job at tackling the problem. I also found that these specific programs are designed to engage clients with life skills and other forms of recovery education to target the cycle of drug use, and are not only provided by qualified staff, they utilise evidence based programs that are proven to work! Surprisingly, these programs had no wait lists!! In the recent proposal made to Baw Baw Shire to utilise the old primary school in Athlone, it has been highlighted that the programs sole purpose is to fill a ‘gap’ in the public health system, but that would ‘assume’ the ‘system’ would be stretched to its limits…. I assumed wrong!

    So why is there a proposal for an drug addiction education and support centre to be placed in the middle of Athlone? What benefits could this religious based service provide that the government run programs don’t already in the locality of the towns where the ‘users’ are? Shouldn’t a service like this have ease of access so individuals can get help? Unlike the government funded, qualified services in Drouin and Warragul, this proposal (if successful) would make it inaccessible to anyone who decided to seek help for themselves.

    If a whole community has stated that they will not use this service, how can it improve the amenity of Athlone? If the service is inaccessible, how can it improve the amenity of Baw Baw Shire?

    Maybe this service needs to be ran alongside the already established services in Drouin and Warragul, to target individuals who want to receive help… where accessibility and support from experienced, qualified government services are also available for support to the proposed program, and most importantly, the individuals seeking help!

    To me it’s a no brainer.. and by no brainer I mean that this should be placed where there is a demand, and alongside qualified reputable government funded organisations!!!!!!!

  7. Kim says:

    TIMP is a fantastic place for family’s of drug addiction and not to mention the loved ones that deal with it along the way. They saved my daughter and myself by supporting us and couldn’t get help from anyone willing to listen.. I can’t thank TIMP enough and would support all the way for this project to happen. People need to understand that when its your own child you would do anything to help but unless you have been through it, it’s hard to accept so please open ur hearts and not be so negative as it could be one of your loved ones that will need this place one day and they will do anything to help you if needed.