Tonight, arguably the best panel of Australian and Victorian pokie activists and researchers gather in Castlemaine. The goal is to inform about the application of the Maryborough Highlanders proposed expansion of their pokie business into Castlemaine.
Here's the full line-up:
Rev Tim Costello AO
CEO of World Vision and the voice of social conscience for many Australians
Sen Nick Xenophon
From running a small suburban legal practice to becoming Australia's leading independent political voice, Nick has battled the pokie industry for 14 years to eliminate the harm of these dangerous machines
Australia's leading corporate activist and Walkley award winning journalist who has been provisionally elected as Victoria's first anti-pokie parliamentarian.
A quiet shopkeeper who felt so strongly about the issue, he became the mayor of Macedon Ranges and successfully fought the pokies application for Romsey all the way to the full court of appeal of the Victorian Supreme Court. By the Romsey victory, the precedent for community involvement was set.
Dr Lorraine Beyer
Sustainable communities planner who created standard setting work in local council pokie policies.
CEO of St Lukes in Bendigo with extensive involvement with gambling and welfare issues.
Professor John McDonald
His University of Ballarat department is conducting groundbreaking research into the economic and social effects of pokie gambling on local communities.
The evening ends with all speakers participating in question and answer panel. For more information check out enoughpokies.org
Mr Hester, the leader of the Maryborough Highlanders' pokies push into Castlemaine was invited to attend when EPIC first raised the idea of informed community discussion. Here's a photo of Mr Hester, the Maryborough pokie club manager who seeks to bring more pokies into Castlemaine.
Mr Hester declined to attend.