Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The MiHi Tragedy Continues

In June 2009, I blogged about the tragic incident of a child being left in a vehicle at the Coles associated MiHi Tavern near Ipswich in Queensland. Readers may recall my recounting my meeting with Coles' senior executives and my please for them to take similar steps to those in place in Victoria. Some very commendable steps were taken (that I applauded publicly - for what that is worth) but not enough. It has all happened again. At the same pokie pub.

Click here to read the story.

By email dated 15 December 2008, I asked Coles to erect these signs:

Instead they erected these signs:

Click on this photo (supplied by Coles) to see an expanded version.

Click here to read my 25 June 2009 blog.

On 18 September 2009, I wrote to Coles and indicated my concerns about the signs they chose to erect:
"With regard to the child warning signs, I believe that the KidsSafe signs will be more effective than the design in the pictures. There is no question that the message in the signs you forwarded is correct and that their design compliments the 'look' of the Mihi Tavern. The suggested signs are aesthetically pleasing. The problem is that the message needs to be forcibly noticed to be truly effective. This KidsSafe design was mentioned in your 6 point plan. I believe that the KidsSafe design used by all Victorian pokie pubs remains the best option. It may well be that this is a less expensive option than custom designed signs. There is also matter of how many signs will be erected and where they will be located."
Regretfully, I may have been right. Another infant has been left in a car at the MiHi while her parent gambled inside. What will it take for Coles to correct it's practices?

I have written again to Coles suggesting that these signs are ineffective, that their car park monitoring be increased and that the public address system be used hourly at all their venues to warn against leaving children in vehicles.

But Coles' practices remain a model to emulate compared to my experiences of the giant NSW pokie clubs. While I may have missed them, no car park of any NSW pokie club or pub had any warning signs whatsoever. Given the harmful nature of pokie gambling and the vast car parks of these pokie clubs, this is a disaster waiting to happen.

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