Scientologists using historic Victorian property rent free

Macquarie National News, Australia/September 28, 2008

There have been objections towards a Scientology-linked drug group exclusively using one of Victoria's grand historic properties rent free.

Parks Victoria manages O'Shannassy Lodge, in the Yarra Ranges, as well as hundreds of other properties on behalf of the Victorian public.

They have allowed Narconon, a drug rehabilitation program based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology founder, to work out of the lodge rent free - although they have to pay maintenance fees.

David Crosbie, the chief executive of Mental Health Council Australia and a member of the Prime Minister's National Council on Drugs doesn't agree with the deal.

"Whoever can best use those facilities in the public interest should do so. I don't think the current situation should continue there," Mr Crosbie told The Age.

The exact details of the deal haven't been made public, but Parks Victoria has said maintenance costs of the property are significant, and would usually have to be covered by taxpayers.

Narconon's drug rehabilitation programs have been ridiculed by critics, who say they are as just a 'predatory' front for the Church of Scientology.

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