Bass Coast,
01
July
2015
|
02:22
Australia/Melbourne

Gaming Policy Up For Comment

Losses through Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) are a significant issue for the Bass Coast community, with more than $15 million in losses recorded in 2013-14.

As an advocate for harm minimisation, Council has developed a new Electronic Gaming Machine Policy to clarify Council’s position, roles and responsibilities in relation to EGMs.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said the policy will be on public exhibition until 3 August, with Council seeking comments and feedback from the community.

“The policy was developed after consultation with local agencies, venues and community representatives,” Cr Brown said.

“The Responsible Gaming Policy 2015 has been updated to reflect regulatory and administrative changes regarding EGMs. Once adopted, we will commence preparation of a Planning Scheme Amendment to implement aspects of the Policy into the Bass Coast Planning Scheme.”

As part of its advocacy, Cr Brown said Council recently participated in work being undertaken by Adelaide University regarding the ‘no net detriment’ test.

“If a venue would like to introduce or add EGMs to their facility, the local government area has an automatic right to have input into the application.

“Venues are not deemed suitable for gaming unless they prove that the net economic and social impact of the approval will not be detrimental to the well-being of the community; also known as ‘no net detriment’ tests,” Cr Brown said.

“These tests, however, are not described in legislation and can lead to lengthy and expensive cases at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.”

Cr Brown said the capacity of local governments to have a say in issues that affect their local areas is hampered by this current process.

The Enough Pokies Campaign was run prior to the state government election to influence political parties to have a clear position in relation to EGMs for Victoria.

Cr Brown said it is fantastic to see almost all of Victoria’s 79 Local Government Areas banding together to lobby for changes to the current system.

The Policy is available on Council’s website at basscoast.vic.gov.au/gaming or by contacting Council’s Community Strengthening Team on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.