Friday, March 1, 2024

Sunraysia gambles on community feedback

Sunraysia residents are being asked for their thoughts on a new policy developed by Mildura Rural City Council aimed at minimising gambling harm within the community.

Councillor for Community Health and Wellbeing, Troy Bailey said the policy recognised the social and economic harm caused by gambling and identified a range of actions to help minimise this harm, with a focus on electronic gaming machines (EGM).

“As community leaders we have a responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of our community, and this includes the impacts of gambling,” Cr Bailey said.

“Figures from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission tell us that in the 2022/23 financial year gambling losses from electronic gaming machines in our region topped more than $38 million.

“While this is obviously a significant figure, it’s the social and economic impacts that flow from these financial losses that strike to the heart of why this policy has been developed – to minimise harm and support our community.”

Cr Bailey said the policy included a combination of direct actions, advocacy and partnership approaches to tackle the problem.

These include:

  • not holding Council activities, meetings or social outings in venues that have gambling activities;
  • advocate to the Victorian Government to reduce the current EGM cap in regional areas, and for EGMs given up by venues to be automatically removed from the regional cap;
  • push for changes to gambling-related legislation based on public health research into the harm caused by gambling;
  • continue to fund initiatives that provide alternative activities to gambling in the region;
  • consider opportunities to limit the impact of gambling in the community through changes to the Mildura Planning Scheme.

To view the Harm Minimisation from Gambling Policy visit mildura.vic.gov.au/HaveYourSay. Feedback can be provided until 5pm on Friday 3 November.

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