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Noosa Shire Council leading the purge on pokies in Queensland

Tue, Dec 25, 3:17am by Staff Writer

The Noosa Shire Council have made significant step towards curbing community pokies problems in joining the Alliance for Gambling Reform Group.

The first local government in the state of Queensland to join the group, the move is seen as a sign of leadership in combating pokies issues and may prompt other municipalities in following suit in the near future.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform is a national advocacy organisation that works to prevent and minimise harm from gambling.

The organisation is headed by Tim Costello and has provided local councils and other member organisations with expert advice and practical resources to take positive action, especially with regards to getting necessary legislative change to protect communities from the harmful impacts of gambling.

Gambling addiction a major cause of personal suffering according to Noosa Mayor

“Gambling and gambling addiction are amongst the biggest causes of inequality, hardship and personal suffering in our society,” Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington said. “Australians spend more per person on gambling than any other country in the world, and almost twice that of New Zealand. Poker machines alone make up $11 billion of Australia’s total gambling losses.”

The Noosa Shire Council had recently put a motion to the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) calling for it to lobby the State to make legislative changes, according to Noosa News.

“That motion was supported at the LGAQ’s state conference and the LGAQ will now lobby the State Government,” the Mayor said. “Our successful motion asks for legislation allowing electronic gaming machines to be considered a land use for planning assessment purposes. This is what already happens in Victoria, allowing local councils in that State to have a say in the proliferation of these addictive devices.”

“Of the world’s gaming or poker machines that exist outside of casinos, 75% of them are in Australian pubs and clubs,” he said.

“By joining the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Noosa Council teams up with other local governments, health services, foundations, churches and welfare organisations that have a shared concern about the harmful impacts of gambling, as well as its normalisation in Australian culture.

“This is just another step in Noosa Council’s efforts to ensure the wellbeing of our residents. It is also an action that we hope may be emulated by other Queensland councils,” the Mayor said.

Australian’s losing $24 billion dollars a year on gambling

Noosa is now inviting other councils to sign up with the Alliance for Gambling Reform.

“A recent issue of concern to council has been the potential for an increase in electronic gaming machines in our shire with little to no opportunity for council to appropriately and adequately assess the social and economic impacts on its local community due,” council CEO Brett de Chastel said.

“Australian’s are losing $24 billion dollars a year on gambling. That’s 40 per cent more per capita than any other nation on the planet and electronic gaming machines are responsible for about half of those loses with an annual spend nationally of around $12 billion.”

Mr de Chastel said in Queensland that the number of gaming machines increased from 20,888 in July 2004 to 24,583 in July this year.

“The amount of money lost by players of gaming machines has also increased during this period from $68,520,536 to $93,725,270.”

The Alliance for Gambling Reform is 100% funded by donations from individuals and foundations that do not have any ties with the gambling industry. They are not affiliated with any political party.

To learn more about the Alliance for Gambling Reform, visit their website www.pokiesplayyou.org.au.


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