Written by enadmin7 on December 18, 2015
The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) is Australia’s peak organisation for ensuring that people who use drugs are represented in policy about them. Their funding is currently under threat by the Turnbull Government and they could be closed down by mid-2016 if drastic changes don’t happen NOW. You can help. Read the following information provided by Annie Madden, Executive Officer of Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) Inc.
AIVL, your national drug user organisation, needs you!
For more than 20 years AIVL has been a voice for drug users at the national level. This voice is really important not least because so much policy that affects people who use/have used illicit drugs is set at the national level. Just a few of the programs, activities and work that AIVL undertakes that is of direct interest to our state/territory members and drug users across Australia include:
- Contributing the drug user perspective to the development and implementation of the National Drug Strategy and the suite of National BBV/STI Strategies including the National Hepatitis C and HIV Strategies;
- Working to ensure needle and syringe programs continue to be funded at the federal level and indeed, seeking to enhance and expand funding for NSP to increase access to sterile injecting equipment for people who inject drugs;
- Ensuring people who inject/have injected drugs are partners in the national response to HIV and hep C prevention, treatment, care and support;
- Promoting and protecting health and human rights of people who use/have used illicit drugs and working to end stigma and discrimination against our community;
- Developing nationally consistent peer education and harm reduction materials, resources and messaging (both online and print-based) and ensuring that messages in peer education resources are credible and relevant to drug users;
- Developing and rolling-out national training and capacity building for peer educators including training forums, training modules and online content;
- Developing key national resources including the AIVL National Stigma & Discrimination Training Module, the AIVL National Online NSP Directory, the Online ‘Guide to the Law & Your Rights”, the “Discrimination Know Your Rights” Fact Sheets & Online Survey, etc;
- Representing people who use/have used illicit drugs on numerous national advisory and ministerial committees, at local, national and international conferences, consultation forums and events and on steering committees for key national research projects such as the ANSP Survey, the IDRS, etc; and
- Providing information, communications and community networking forums such as the AIVL website and other social media platforms, the AIVL E-list and the AIVL CEOs/Managers E-list.
All of this work has a direct benefit to and impact on the work of state & territory drug user organisations and other AIVL member organisations and on individual drug users across Australia.
All of this is in danger of being lost!
Although AIVL existed as a filing cabinet, a Board and a volunteer coordinator for many years, AIVL first received government funding in 1997/98 and this greatly enabling expansion of our activities into many of the areas detailed above and allowed the organisation for the first time to establish an office and a staff team. Since then AIVL has been continually funded under a range of national communicable diseases funding arrangements. This year all that changes…
For over 5 years now, AIVL has received funding under the Communicable Diseases Prevention & Service Improvement Grants (CDPSIG) Fund for a program of activities relating to hepatitis C and other BBVs/STIs. This represents AIVL’s main source of funding for the organisation. A series of fundamental changes to the Australian Government’s approach to the funds available under the CDPSIG Fund has left AIVL with no opportunity to apply for a program of activities to continue the organisation’s work after 30 June 2016. This is despite the fact that the CDPSIG Fund is designed to implement the National BBV/STI Strategies and people who inject drugs are a priority population in 4 of 5 of these National Strategies.
The result is that AIVL may, for the first time in twenty years, be forced to shut down all the projects and policy work that they are doing on behalf of people who use drugs. We will lose all the achievements and work outlined above and the only voice at a national level that belongs unequivocally to us. We know that it is not easy to come back from situations like this so we are mobilising as many supporters and people affected by this as possible. Our state & territory member organisations and individual drug users will be central to our advocacy efforts.
We are asking all people to help raise awareness of the situation and put pressure on the key decision makers including the Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley, MP. We are asking our members to rally their members and their allies with a number of advocacy approaches. AIVL has created a campaign advocacy page “#Save AIVL” on the AIVL website on this page you will find a range of advocacy tools that you can use to:
- Let others know about AIVL’s situation and send them to Save AIVL
- Write to the Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley, MP at: Minister.Ley@health.gov.au
- Actively promote the following actions among your networks:
o Sign the online petition to the Minister for Health at Change.org #saveaivl
o Write to your local federal member of parliament about AIVL’s situation using the sample letter to local MPs which you can find here. To find your local federal member of parliament and their contact details click here.
The more letters and emails the Minister and Representatives receive from different people the better.
Check out the information, advocacy tools and social media tips at #SaveAIVL and keep visiting the page over the coming days and weeks for new campaign content including:
- A “#Save AIVL” poster to raise awareness and as a call to action;
- A “#Save AIVL” banner that can be used on emails, websites, etc;
- Suggestions on how to use social media to increase support and pressure.
Thank you all for your assistance and support for AIVL – The only national peer-based drug user organisation in Australia.