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Community wins as VCAT says no to pokies at the Commercial Hotel

Community wins as VCAT says no to pokies at the Commercial Hotel

Friday, December 22, 2017

Council has applauded the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for upholding a decision by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) to refuse an application for 40 poker machines at the Commercial Hotel in South Morang.

In December 2016, Woolworths owned Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH) were refused an application to install the machines by the VCGLR, the independent statutory authority that regulates and approves poker machine licenses.

Following this refusal, ALH Group sought a review of the decision at VCAT together with the planning permit that was refused by Council in March 2017.

City of Whittlesea Mayor, Cr Kris Pavlidis said this latest VCAT decision was a win for the community, with 40 less poker machines to be installed in the municipality.

“Should ALH Group have won this hearing, there would have been a total of 711 poker machines in the City of Whittlesea,”

“We just can’t afford any more machines in our vulnerable community,”

“The City of Whittlesea is home to four of Victoria’s top 10 venues for poker machine losses. In the last year $107 million was lost by our residents on poker machines, this equates to $293,136 lost every day.”

“We know from our communities and the losses sustained, that pokie machines are harming the fabric of our society. The ripples are felt through not just the person who loses, but family and friends, neighbours, workplaces and businesses.”

“We commend VCAT for this decision and for recognising the VCGLR’s original outcome.”

Despite this recent win, the City of Whittlesea remains at risk of more machines in the future.

View a video featuring Fiona Patten MP, Tim Costello and Cr Kris Pavlidis celebrating the news.