Brimbank Council has vowed to fight for stronger gambling reforms and the return of $60 million a year in pokies taxes back to the Brimbank community
Brimbank Mayor Cr John Hedditch said the State Government’s proposed gaming policy and legislative changes would do little to reduce the significant harm caused by pokies in Brimbank.
“Since 2015, gaming machines in Brimbank have snared more than $277 million,” Cr Hedditch said.
“As Melbourne’s second most vulnerable community, these are losses that Brimbank simply cannot afford.
“It is particularly galling to think that each year about $60 million of these losses goes to feed the State Government’s pokies addiction – this is money that could be spent providing healthier alternatives to gambling, such as cultural, arts, sporting and recreation facilities to name a few.
“Council is seeking an urgent meeting with Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Scott Morrison to negotiate the return of the $60 million per year taken in State Government pokies taxes from Brimbank gaming losses.”
Cr Hedditch said Council would also seek a meeting with Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz to discuss strengthening proposed changes.
“The State Government’s proposed changes – which include freezing the number of gaming machines in Victoria – do not go nearly far enough,” Cr Hedditch said.
“There are already 939 electronic gaming machines in Brimbank – we need to reduce the number of machines available and lower the betting limits to stem the tide of losses.”
Brimbank Council will also seek the support of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, of which Council is a member, LeadWest and other Western Region Councils to seek greater consultation on the reforms.
In addition, Council will write to the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to highlight the harm caused by pokies in Brimbank and call for stricter controls.