In 2015, the Australian Government's National Ice Taskforce set out a comprehensive national plan for reducing the harm caused by illicit drugs, including ice, as well as the harm caused by alcohol and misuse of prescription medications. This led a $241.5 million commitment over four years to new AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) treatment services across the country. This funding includes a focus on services to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) were tasked to commission these treatment services to ensure local needs are met and that true collaboration occurs with primary and other health providers.

EMPHN’s approach to commissioning these services in eastern and north eastern Melbourne includes the following:

  • Clinical focus targeted at the greatest impact and need
  • Equitable access that addresses service gaps
  • Integration, not duplication, with existing AOD and other health services
  • Measurable outcomes and targets
  • Pilot of innovative service delivery models

AOD commissioned services

On 15 February 2017, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Sport, approved the transfer of funding, provided through the National Ice Action Strategy, for organisations providing local AOD treatment services to PHNs. These new arrangements, delivered from 1 July 2017 until 30 June 2019, will increase available treatment for the community, as well as improve integration, consistency and quality, thereby providing a platform for a more sustainable drug and alcohol treatment sector in the future.

Transitioned services

EMPHN works closely with a wide range of partners, including service providers and peak bodies, in order to ensure that the services EMPHN commissions are built on the best available knowledge about what works and what doesn't. This includes significant input from consumers and carers.

EMPHN also works closely with the Victorian Government's Area-Based Pharmacotherapy Networks, which are a vital part of our community response. 

EMPHN's Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) program closely coordinates with work in the pharmacotherapy and AOD programs.

Please contact Craig Russouw or Joel Robins at for any questions around AOD services at EMPHN.