Thursday, 9 July 2009

Moreland's Pokie Sin Tax

Local government action to do something, anything to mitigate the harm of pokie gambling is a manifestation of the poor performance of state governments. This was on show last night at the Moreland City Council.

Two representatives were present from ALH, the Woolworths/Mathieson joint venture. In the last three years, gamblers lost $98,687,959 at their venues. This does not include the Summerworld Hotel where Mr Mathieson has an associated interest.

The Council, in adopting the budget, voted to levy additional rates on pokie venues.

It all got quite heated with representatives of Woolworths/Mathieson's ALH and Councillor Kavanagh arguing with some emotion. The essence is of the argument is that ALH asked how much of what their pokie pubs contribute to efforts in Moreland to help problem gamblers. Council did not know. Councillor Kavanagh took exception and asked how much their pokies took out of Moreland. The ALH people would not answer. ALH's Ross Blair-Holt asked why no one from Moreland turned up for the Derryn Hinch segment. An explanation was provided with an offer by the Mayor to participate in any further radio broadcasts.

I was allowed to put my point that the City in creating such a levy themselves become dependent upon pokie revenue so that the whole matter resembles NSW where pokie clubs are seen to provide community services. I made this point in my earlier blog "Local Government's Pokie Addiction"

You can listen to the relevant part of the Council's question time by clicking on the file below. Clicking will take you to the web page where the MP3 is stored and then click download. It's about 10 minutes long and you'll need to turn up the volume. It is a worthwhile listen nonetheless.

As a result of the City's resolution, Sen Nick Xenophon has issued this media release;
All this is merely the latest in a series of actions intended to motivate government and industry to bring forward measures that will minimise the harm caused by pokie gambling.

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