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Cairns youth residential rehabilitation and treatment service

The Queensland Government is delivering a new youth alcohol and other drugs treatment service to better meet the needs of young people and their families in North Queensland with a service based in Cairns.

The new service is voluntary and will include a purpose-built 10-bed residential rehabilitation centre as well as a suite of non-residential treatment to support young people experiencing problematic substance use. It will include services tailored to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, their families and community. The provisional age range for the residential service is young people aged 13 to 18 years with the primary target group expected to be 16 and 17 years.


It is proposed to construct the new residential rehabilitation treatment service at 26-28 Mount Peter Road, Edmonton.

This new service will comprise single-storey buildings across a 7,725sqm site which will include:

  • accommodation for 10 young people
  • an administrative building with a reception for clients and visitors
  • office space and overnight accommodation for staff
  • car parking for approximately 10 cars and a bay for ambulance access
  • kitchen, dining and laundry facilities
  • indoor and outdoor spaces for recreation, program activities and cultural components of care.

The non-residential treatment programs will be delivered from a different location most likely to be closer to Cairns CBD.

The treatment provider

The new service (residential and non-residential programs) will be delivered by an experienced provider/s of specialist and culturally responsive youth alcohol and other drugs treatment, under contract with the Department of Health. The provider/s may be a non-government organisation and/or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisation identified through robust Queensland Health procurement processes. The land and buildings for the residential rehabilitation service will be owned by the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service.


The new services (residential and non-residential programs) will be designed to complement existing local services and to support effective multi-agency responses for young people experiencing problematic substance use. The new service will include a particular focus on meeting the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and families including cultural healing programs and services, community as a therapeutic vehicle, traditional ways of learning and Elder involvement in healing activities.

Residential rehabilitation program

The purpose-built centre (proposed in Edmonton) will provide intensive structured residential rehabilitation programs for up to six months and will include pre-treatment support and aftercare for young people and their families. The priority group, and most likely greater uptake of the residential program is young people aged 16 to 17 years.

Non-residential program

Located off-site, a suite of non-residential alcohol and other drug treatment and support options will be provided for young people and their families, based on identified need and may include for example, day programs, assertive outreach, and intensive case management.

Community engagement and feedback

Queensland Health will undertake ongoing engagement with the local community as part of planning and service establishment.

In addition to the MID process, Queensland Health undertook 2 Community Information Forums for neighbouring residents held online on 18 January 2022 and on 5 April 2022 at the Fuller Sports Club in Edmonton.

Feedback and questions about the Cairns service can be sent to

The following information addresses some of the questions and feedback raised by the community to date.

Why Cairns?

While there are existing alcohol and other drug treatment and youth services in Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service region, the new youth alcohol and other drug treatment service will improve access to more specialist and intensive residential and non-residential treatment and support for young people experiencing problematic substance use and their families.

It will contribute to meeting the demand for services in northern Queensland, with Cairns as a central and supported location to deliver services from and support clients and families across the region. The new service will be collaborative and complement other service delivery in the area including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

The service will benefit the Cairns community through the creation of new jobs during construction and ongoing service delivery. It is estimated the service will employ up to approximately 30 full time equivalent positions across the residential and non-residential programs.

Residential care in a community setting

Alcohol and drug residential treatment is part of a range of treatment options for young people who need help to address their substance use and achieve positive outcomes and change. Residential, or community bed-based services are primarily for young people who need more intensive treatment than can be provided through appointment-based counselling or day programs. Residential treatment programs are usually over a period of 6 weeks to 3 months, with follow up care.

Most healthcare and residential treatment services are in more central areas of the community, where people live and work as part of daily life. This supports the clients, their families, and healthcare providers to access services and other amenities to help meet the needs of young people.

Residential treatment and care in a community setting provides a safe, structured and drug free environment to help support engagement in therapeutic activities and the development of better daily living skills. Being isolated from the community is not supportive of recovery and re-integration.

Crime and community safety

There is no evidence to suggest crime rates or safety issues increase because of alcohol and other drug residential treatment services. Effective treatment contributes to reducing substance use and to improving community safety.

The service will be staffed and operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with participants supervised during these times. Given the age of the participants, staff ratios and supervision support will be higher compared to adult rehabilitation services.

Queensland Health and Queensland Police Service will work together with the local community to address any issues should they arise.

Proximity to liquor outlets

A property consultant was engaged to assist in site selection based on a set of criteria on including ready access to transport and services. Identifying a location that does not have liquor outlets nearby is challenging; however, young people under 18 years cannot be legally served by these outlets.

Traffic and access

This is a small service for 10 young people and is not expected to have a lot of daily traffic to and from the facility. Queensland Health has engaged a traffic consultant to investigate traffic matters including, site access and traffic network impacts.

Contact us

Please direct feedback including comments and/or questions about the new Cairns service to

Last updated: 22 June 2022