Noosa is set to become the first Council in Queensland to join the Alliance for Gambling Reform organisation.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform is a national advocacy organisation which works to prevent and minimise harm from gambling. Headed by Tim Costello, the organisation has provided local councils and other member organisations with expert advice and practical resources to take positive action, especially with regards to getting necessary legislative change to protect communities from the harmful impacts of gambling.
“Gambling and gambling addiction are amongst the biggest causes of inequality, hardship and personal suffering in our society,” Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington said. “Australians spend more per person on gambling than any other country in the world, and almost twice that of New Zealand. Poker machines alone make up $11 billion of Australia’s total gambling losses.”
Recently, Council put a motion to the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) calling for it to lobby the State to make legislative changes.
“That motion was supported at the LGAQ’s state conference and the LGAQ will now lobby the State Government,” the Mayor said. “Our successful motion asks for legislation allowing electronic gaming machines to be considered a land use for planning assessment purposes. This is what already happens in Victoria, allowing local councils in that State to have a say in the proliferation of these addictive devices.”
“Of the world’s gaming or poker machines that exist outside of casinos, 75 per cent of them are in Australian pubs and clubs,” he said.
The number of gaming machines in Queensland increased from 20,888 in July 2004 to 24,583 in July 2018. In 2017 alone, Queenslanders lost $2.34 billion on poker machines.
“By joining the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Noosa Council teams up with other local governments, health services, foundations, churches and welfare organisations that have a shared concern about the harmful impacts of gambling, as well as its normalisation in Australian culture.
“This is just another step in Noosa Council’s efforts to ensure the wellbeing of our residents. It is also an action that we hope may be emulated by other Queensland councils,” the Mayor said.