No relief for addiction volunteers

A volunteer group that helps people overcome narcotics addiction has been refused a discount on venue hire in Maylands.

Bayswater city council is charging Narcotics Anonymous the full rack rate of $3120 for a three-day hire of the RISE for an August conference.

Cr Graham Pittaway was unrepentant, saying the council was not a “bleeding hearts club”.

NA usually books a place in Yokine for $1000 but it was unavailable.

Cr Alan Radford says the group has nothing to do with Bayswater and as a state-wide body doesn’t merit a discount.

But Cr Chris Cornish says the council has previously provided financial support to national and statewide groups, including the WA cancer council, Telethon and the Fred Hollows Foundation.

“We dish out donations left, right and centre—didn’t we give a donation to a frisbee group—and here we are knocking back a worthy organisation who are trying to address a huge problem in society,” he told colleagues.

The self-funded NA, run by volunteers, relies on donations to survive and a hat is passed around after every meeting.

It provides a 12-step program for recovering drug addicts throughout the world and hold 24 meetings in Perth’s metropolitan area every year

Cr Marlene Robinson says drugs touch many lives in Bayswater and it doesn’t matter where the organisation is based.

Cr Sonia Turkington was also in favour of a discount: “Goodness knows, drugs are a problem of today—narcotics is a killer.”

Around 600 people are expected to attend the NA convention, including representatives from WA correctional services and people who run homeless shelters.

Half of NA’s members are in rehabilitation centres.

The Voice contacted NA, but it didn’t get back to us.

The convention is scheduled for August 16-18.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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