A long-awaited Melbourne sobering up centre has officially opened, weeks after Victoria decriminalised public drunkenness.
The dedicated drunk tank on Cambridge Street in Collingwood was scheduled to open on Melbourne Cup day when public intoxication was no longer considered a crime.
But construction delays meant the centre, run by not-for-profit health organisation cohealth, was not ready in time.
The Victorian government confirmed the 20-bed centre would open from Wednesday, replacing a six-bed trial site on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.
More than 80 people received support on the first day of the state moving to a health-led response to public drunkenness on November 7.
Outreach teams in the Melbourne and Yarra local government areas recorded most of the demand.
Five people were supported at sobering centres.
The Victorian government committed to decriminalising public drunkenness at the start of an inquest into the 2017 death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day.
She was arrested for being drunk in a public place and died after hitting her head in a concrete cell at Castlemaine Police Station.
A coroner found her death was preventable.
Victoria was the second last state to transition to a health-based response to public intoxication.
Australian Associated Press