BILL Tilley has warned the push for a headspace centre on the Border must be above parochial interests on either side of the river.
In a week that has already seen two teenage suicides in the region, the member for Benambra says Albury-Wodonga must unite in its bid to save young lives.
Mr Tilley on Monday met with the headspace manager of centre expansion Pat O’Leary as part of the campaign to get the federally funded youth mental health service centre to the Border.
“There is a long way to go but we are on the right track,” Mr Tilley said yesterday.
“Having listened to what they have had to say and knowing our need and the level of community support I’m quietly confident that we will succeed.
“No decision will be made before the second half of next year but we must continue to lobby.
“What we can’t afford to do is get caught up in where it should be located, we can’t allow this to become a debate between Albury and Wodonga.
“For the sake of the young lives we might save this has to straddle the Border, have bipartisan support.”
Mr Tilley said the recent deaths had again highlighted the urgent need for a headspace.
“Clearly our current services can’t cope, we need a centre like this for youth in crisis,” he said.
“We can no longer afford for this to be happening.
“As a former policeman I have seen first-hand the devastation this causes for the family and friends left behind.”
Mr O’Leary will visit the Border tomorrow with headspace’s head of clinical services Liz Burgat to talk with mental health professionals about the potential for a centre.
The Border Mail has received 3431 butterflies supporting the push for a headspace centre.
The paper’s Facebook Albury-Wodonga needs headspace page linked to the campaign now has almost 4700 likes.
The page saw an extra 200 likes after a 16-year-old and 18-year-old took their lives on Monday with people turning to social media to express their regret.
The next round of headspace announcements is not expected before July or August next year.