Mitchell shire appeals poker machine approval to VCAT
A decision made earlier this year by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) for the approval of the additional 20 poker machines has been appealed by the Mitchell Shire Council to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
The appeal is set to be heard at VCAT in early 2020, according to Mirage News.
At a Special Council Meeting on March 12, the Mitchell Shire Council voted unanimously to oppose the application and make a submission VCGLR.
The decision to oppose the application was based on an independent assessment which showed an estimated detrimental social and economic impact of $6.84 million if the 20 new machines were introduced.
The Kilmore and Wallan have become the second fastest growing area in metropolitan Melbourne in just a few years, with the report highlighting concerns about the increased likelihood of gambling harm in growth areas.
According to the details of the report, this growth brings a high level of vulnerability towards gambling harm, with a lack of alternative entertainment and recreation options, high mortgage and rental stress, social isolation and poor transport.
There are set to be more young families than ever in Wallan, and this will continue to increase in the next decade. Out of those currently living in the area, more than half of households renting – and 25 per cent of households with a mortgage are experiencing financial stress.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Councillor Bill Chisholm said the application presented was considered on its merit and was subject to an independent assessment.
“Mitchell Shire Council will exercise the right to make a submission in accordance with our policy around Electronic Gaming Machines,” he said.
“Our policy states if the independent review finds a detriment, we will oppose the case. We take this role very seriously and consider each application on its own.
“Council’s Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) policy takes a public health approach to the negative impacts gambling harm can cause. This policy guides us when it comes to gambling harm and the affects for individuals, families and our municipality.
“We encourage everyone in our municipality to write a submission and have their say. All submissions will be considered by the Commission.”
Information night to be held
A community information meeting has been organised by the Wallan Gateway Church and the Victorian Local Governance Association and will be held on Thursday 10 October.
The session will cover information about the appeal and take residents through the process of making a submission to VCAT.
It will also give health organisations and community leaders a chance to inform the community about the impacts of gambling harm on individuals, families and communities.
This week is Gambling Harm Awareness Week, held between 7 and 13 October 2019, which is designed to encourage community discussions about why gambling harm matters.
For residents within the Kilmore and Wallan areas, the closest scheduled event is in Epping on Thursday, October 10 between 6 and 10pm, where the Australian Chaldean Family Welfare (AFCW) in partnership with Arabic Welfare will be holding an event for Chaldean community members to raise awareness about gambling harm and its effect on individuals, families and the community.
In addition, the Glenroy Library will host a free BBQ and some fun activities from Reclink Australia. This will be followed by a discussion about eSports and eBetting presented by Gamblers Help.
Coburg Library will host a ReSpin speaker followed by light refreshments. ‘Not a dollar more’ podcasts will also be promoted to provide online information to the community.
There are more than 50 community events held across the state this week.
For more information on Gambling Harm Awareness Week, visit responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au.