Whittlesea Mayor Cr Kris Pavlidis will join with Mayors from other metropolitan Councils on the steps of Parliament House (Melbourne) tomorrow to call for changes to stop the harm associated with poker machines.
The event marks the four month countdown to the State election on November 24.
Cr Pavlidis said Whittlesea residents would lose a massive $36million to the pokies between now and the election.
“Surely no responsible authority can think that this is acceptable. The City of Whittlesea certainly doesn’t think it’s acceptable. As a responsible authority, we are VERY concerned,” she said.
“Our councils are dealing with the dire consequences of pokies. As community leaders we are standing together to make sure pokies reform is a key state election issue. Enough is enough.
“As Mayors we are putting all political parties on notice that it’s time for pokies reform. Our communities are suffering from gambling harm and it’s only getting worse.
“As community leaders we want reform. We call on the State Government and opposition parties to commit to $1 maximum bets, clamp down on losses disguised as wins and reduce venue opening hours.”
The Mayors joined with Alliance spokesman and director Tim Costello, who welcomed the unprecedented commitment of local government leaders to the vital community cause of addressing Australia’s world record levels of gambling harm.
“Councils such as Whittlesea are at the coal face of gambling harm and I sincerely welcome the commitment of Cr Pavlidis to the cause of fixing this blight on Australian society,” Tim Costello said.
“Successive Victorian Governments have been intimidated by a ruthless industry and become reliant on the easy money of gambling taxes but the City of Whittlesea is are saying this has got to stop,” Mr Costello said.
“Councils are at the coal face of gambling harm and are not conflicted by the tax revenue or intimidated by an industry which has exerted way too much power over our major political parties, leaving Australia with the largest per capita gambling losses in the world.
“Whittlesea is joining with other councils to say ‘enough is enough’ – as the local government sector unites like never before to demand action from our political leaders.
“Whittlesea is saying the next Victorian Parliament must show some spine and heart and address this issue to prevent the needless suicides, family violence, bankruptcy and fraud which flows when $2.7 billion a year is ripped from the community through addictive poker machines in suburban pubs and clubs.
Whittlesea Council has launched its Pokies Play Whittlesea campaign and is seeking 10,000 supporters to its online petition in the lead up to the election.
To support the campaign visit pokiesplaywhittlesea.org.au