We believe in care, compassion and dignity for our mob

Shanty Creek is a residential community where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women, aged 18 years and over, can find solutions to their drug and alcohol problems. Providing a safe and supportive environment, our expert team works with you to help reach your goals and reduce the harm of drugs or alcohol.

At Shanty Creek you will have the opportunity to learn about yourself, understand alcohol or drug misuse and develop new ways to face challenges in life.

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About our program

Our rehabilitation program guides people along a personal journey that leads to greater wellbeing. Up to 30 residents can live-in and stay at Shanty Creek at a time. The program, which is dedicated to acceptance, compassion, respect and trust, includes:

  • cultural support, activities and respect
  • medical and psychological assessments
  • planning for the future and goal setting
  • development of positive thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • group counselling
  • case manangement
  • family and relationship building information
  • a focus on nutrition, health and exercise
  • life skills development
  • relapse prevention
  • life skills development
  • mindfulness
  • and recreational outings.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Residential Rehabilitation?
It involves coming to live-in and stay in an appropriate environment so that you can address the underlying causes of alcohol or drug dependence.

We offer a 24-hour staffed program within a community of support.

Is this a detox program?

No. Shanty Creek is not a detoxification facility. People come to our program drug free (other than prescribed medications) and alcohol free. Many residents will have had to participate in a detoxification program before they will be accepted into our program. Lives Lived Well offer a Withdrawal Support Service in Cairns and also have a Transition Wellbeing Worker to help you while you wait to enter Shanty Creek.

How do I prepare?

We strongly encourage you to seek medical advice before you enter Shanty Creek. It’s also important that you have detoxed for a minimum of 3-5 days prior to entry. Lives Lived Well offer a Withdrawal Support Service in Cairns and also have a dedicated Transition Wellbeing Worker that can help you while you’re waiting to start at Shanty Creek.

Do I have to be drug free to be in the program?

Yes. You need to be free from alcohol and drugs to participate in our program, and you must remain alcohol and drug free for the duration of your stay at Shanty Creek.

We currently do not accept clients on methadone.

Can I smoke while at Shanty Creek?

Smoking is no longer allowed at Shanty Creek. This includes e-cigarettes and vapes. Our staff will support you in accessing Nicotine Replacement Therapy and counselling.

What happens when I get there?

We understand how difficult it can be arriving at a place like Shanty Creek and every effort will be made to help you settle in stress-free! You will be introduced to staff and other residents, shown around the facility and allocated a room. We will help you complete some essential paperwork and our GP service will conduct a full health check.

Can I access other support and services during my stay?
Yes. Residents have access to GP services on a regular basis throughout their stay and are supported in accessing other specialist health care providers and services, including dental care, optometrist etc.

We can also link you to providers who deliver other services such as parenting programs. Some of the other service providers we work with are:

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Services
  • GPs
  • Psychologists
  • Counsellors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychiatrists
  • Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Services
  • Mental Health Services
  • Job Network Agencies
  • Employment Providers
  • Housing Services
  • Queensland Criminal Justice Agencies (Police, Corrective Services, Probation and Parole, Magistrates Court)
  • Legal Services/Representatives
  • The Learning Workshop (Literacy and Numeracy program)
How long is the program?

We provide individualised care and so length of stay is based on your needs. We can work with you up to four months in treatment. When you’re preparing to leave, we offer the option of transition support. This will help you return to community when ready.

Can my family and friends visit?

Family and friends can visit you on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. With discussion and planning, you can also be supported to have leave on weekends.

I live outside Queensland - can I enter the program?
No. Our program is funded and designed to take in people who live in Queensland.
How can I get into the program?

Simply give us a call or you can visit us at our service in Cairns. We will assess your needs discuss a range of support options including withdrawal support.

Drop in to 139 Sheridan Street, Cairns
Call us on 0408 936 813
Email us at [email protected]
Apply online using our personal referral form here

We welcome referrals from community and government services, but you don’t need to have one. Service providers wishing to provide a referral can do so by filling out the service provider referral form on our website here.

What if I have a mental health condition or other complex need - can I still come to your program?
Yes. Our programs and staff are able to support people with complex needs to address their alcohol and drug dependence. Adults with low to moderate mental health conditions who are, or can be, stable on medication are able to participate in our alcohol and drug treatment program. Shanty Creek works closely with health professionals to ensure the continued health and safety of our residents.
How much does it cost?

Residents contribute to the cost of their therapy by way of deductions from their Centrelink Benefits (which depends on the type of benefit or payment received). This includes your rent, food, and treatment. It will be discussed with you during your assessment.

Are the services confidential?
Yes. Information collected by Lives Lived Well is confidential.
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Lives Lived Well acknowledges the peoples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia, respecting their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future. 

Lives Lived Well celebrates diversity and is committed to providing inclusive services. Everyone has the right to live well, with dignity and respect. We offer support to all people without judgment or discrimination.