SMLC becoming legal entity

FUTURE FOR ORGANISATION: Substance Misuse Limestone Coast project officer Sophie Bouchier is excited the organisation will become its own legal entity.

Charlotte Varcoe

A LONG term strategy of the Substance Misuse Limestone Coast (SMLC) will come to fruition in the coming months as the advocacy organisation becomes its own legal entity.

Now in its sixth year, the SMLC will soon be classified as a not-for-profit organisation rather than an advocacy organisation with project officer Sophie Bourchier stating it was a fantastic achievement.

The drug and alcohol support organisation is funded through the Federal Government with its funding due to end in 2022.

During its time within the organisation, the Limestone Coast Local Government Association (LCLGA) has assisted it with administrative and human resources costs.

“Part of our long term strategy was that we have always wanted to be our own legal entity, our own stand-alone agency,” Ms Bouchier said.

“It has been part of our funding agreement with the Commonwealth Department of Health as well and it feels great to know we are officially in the process of doing so.”

By moving onto its own legal entity, the SMLC would now be able to “hold onto” its own money and be officially registered as a not-for-profit organisation, allowing future expansions to occur.

“The steps that we have taken to get to this point have been heavily evidence-based,” Ms Bouchier said.

“The work we do is for education around the drug and alcohol sector and advocating for that sector and health promotion.

“Our board is highly skilled and without them this would never have happened.”

The project manager said many board members had been working within the drug and alcohol support industry for a long time and looked forward to the SMLC’s future.

“We are really excited to come up to those final steps of the initiative as it is a sense of accomplishment and success,” she said.

“The federal funding we receive will remain critical regardless of whether we are our own entity or not and it remains critical that our state and federal members continue to advocate on our behalf.”

Despite the change, Ms Bouchier said the face of the organisation would remain the same as well as its services.

“We may have the opportunity to expand and it is in our strategic plan for this year to finalise that and become our own agency which is pretty exciting,” she said.