Thursday, 26 February 2009

Relevance or Residence?

The VCGR decided to not let me have my say. Here's what they emailed me:
The Commission is in receipt of your email and the concerns raised therein.

I advise that the matters raised by you, together with many other matters, are matters which the Commission carefully considers in all applications of this nature and will certainly do so in the current application.

I advise that as you are not a resident of, or a member of, the local community which is affected by this application you lack standing and as a consequence have no right to appear before the Commission. You are more than welcome to attend and observe the hearing, as is any interested member of the public.
Here's my response:
With respect, the Commission's decision is incorrect. It is the duty of the Commission to either grant or refuse an application with regard to the tests set out in the enabling legislation. The admission of best evidence should be its relevance to those tests. The residence of the person putting forward relevant evidence is immaterial.

There can be no question that the matters I raised are relevant. They follow closely the factors considered by the Commission in past decisions. They also conform with the evidence adduced at the recent VCAT appeal hearing regarding the Romsey Hotel and the Court of Appeal decision in the same matter.

For your information, I have considerable interest in the City of Ballarat pokies. In addition to spending significant time in the area assisting others with pokie related issues, I have purchased a radio schedule with the view of improving the area's responsible gaming practices. I undertake these tasks for no compensation. A person's fiscal interest should not be a qualification.

Again, with respect, I am not sure what qualifies a person to be a 'member' of the community. While I am not a resident of South Australia, the Independent Gambling Authority raised no issue with my submissions before it yesterday based upon observations gathered in South Australia.

Finally, it is the duty of the Commission to inquire rather than limit the basis of its findings to what the parties before it choose to adduce.

I seek your re-consideration of this matter.
I was told that the RSL's response, to the issues I raised, is that they are fiscally strapped.

This leads me to wonder whether financial mismanagement has become the rationale for more pokies.

The Ballarat Courier covered the story today. Click here to read the article.

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