Council opposes gaming machines
Mitchell Shire Council is opposing an application for a further 20 electronic gaming machines in Wallan following an independent Social and Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA).
At a Special Council Meeting on Tuesday 12 March, Council voted unanimously to oppose the application and make a submission to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).
The decision was based on an independent assessment which showed an estimated detrimental social and economic impact of $6.84 million if the 20 new machines were introduced.
With Kilmore and Wallan to become the second fastest growing area in metropolitan Melbourne in just a few years, the report highlighted concerns about the increased likelihood of gambling harm in growth areas.
According to the report, this growth brings a high level of vulnerability towards gambling harm, with a lack of alternative entertainment and recreation options, high mortgage and rental stress, social isolation and poor transport.
There will be more young families than ever in Wallan, and this will continue to increase in the next decade. Out of those currently living in the area, more than half of households renting - and 25 per cent of households with a mortgage - are under financial stress.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Councillor Bill Chisholm said the application was considered on its merit and was subject to an independent assessment.
“Mitchell Shire Council will exercise the right to make a submission in accordance with our policy around Electronic Gaming Machines,” he said.
“Our policy states if the independent review finds a detriment, we will oppose the case. We take this role very seriously and consider each application on its own.
“Council’s Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) policy takes a public health approach to the negative impacts gambling harm can cause. This policy guides us when it comes to gambling harm and the affects for individuals, families and our municipality.
“We encourage everyone in our municipality to write a submission and have their say. All submissions will be considered by the Commission.”
Community members can make a submission to the Commission in support or opposition of the application.
The Social and Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) report is available on Council’s website. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) can assist people who may wish to make an application.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) will hear the application on 2 and 3 April.