The proposed pokies venue has such potential for ill health, particular mental health and financial and consequent social and family distress, with no benefits to the community.
It is a stark comparison to the buildings’s previous use as a local indoor sports centre that provided a great social and sporting mix for the children of Castlemaine.
I asked the question about the gaming venue at this week’s Council meeting, and got the response (+my comments)below. I also asked the question of Steve Gibbons on Wednesday night: Could there be Federal intervention in the case of small communities being forced to accept gaming venues. He said No, but the Greens said Yes at the evening’s forum.
1.) As Council has still not received any planning application for the gaming venue, and until they do, no processes will be commenced.
2.) It is true that Council has no Gaming Policy, and this may be our downfall if the application comes in before they have set the Gaming Policy wheels in motion.
a. The Gaming Policy does not have to be complete and adopted as part of the strategic plan (which takes immense about of time) but sometimes a VCAT case can be won with a Gaming Policy at least commenced if not yet adopted.
b. The crucial action now is to lobby/push Council into getting onto this policy immediately.
c. Mayor Schier’s words (he asked out loud, “We don’t have a gambling policy do we?” to his officers) would indicate that they have not even called a meeting to consider it. And again, they have to be pushed to do this immediately.
d. Schier also said that he wanted to answer my question at length because they had had so many people contacting Council about it this week. Pity he didn’t start the action already!
3.) The Highland Society is working on the basis that we have no Gaming Policy, and they already know a lot more about this than we do.
4.) Every phone call to every Councillor has to ask, “Are you meeting yet to develop our Gaming Policy?”
5.) I disagree with the idea that numbers (petitions) can save us. If the fine line says that the Highland Society is doing nothing illegal, numbers won’t save us without some Gaming Policy that VCAT will consider to be a legal document.
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