Project Manger: Alcohol Community Action Project
Following concerted local Casula community action supported by ACAP to prevent a problematic late trading pub with 30 pokies DA, last night Liverpool Council unanimously supported a motion emphasising the critical role Local government has in assessing the social impact of alcohol related developments.
The motion followed unprecedented circumstances where both Houses of NSW Parliament expressed common concerns in the manner in which Liverpool Council intended to buck pass the consideration of the impact of alcohol in DAs onto the NSW government.
Of particular symbolic importance was the Council’s unanimous support that s209 of the Gaming Machines Act should be amended/repealed to allow local government (the “closest to the people”) to consider the substantial negative social impact of poker machines in their LGA when for example, assessing related DAs. Currently, the impact of pokies is explicitly prevented in such considerations and is the sole domain of the NSW government unlike the consideration of the social impact of alcohol.
Apparently there is a memorandum of understanding between the Government and NSW Clubs targeting a number of Western Sydney LGA’s including Liverpool to consolidate clubs (make them bigger) to possibly provide aged and childcare whilst simultaneous “relaxing” DA approval processes for these clubs.
This creates a very positive precedent and reflects the rising groundswell of grass-root community resentment or backlash (represented in Liverpool Council’s unanimous decision) against the pernicious influence the liquor and gaming industry has exerted over the political decision making process for too long in NSW – to communities and families substantial detriment.
Liverpool Council is to be commended for the bipartisan leadership and support of the interests of their local communities who unfortunately experience a disproportionate share of the harm and burden of pokies in NSW with the average profit (before tax) of pub pokies in Liverpool LGA being over 71% higher than the equivalent NSW pub average. On average, each pub pokie in Liverpool LGA gouges out $123,277 pa from the players.
Last night, one senior Councillor passionately describe alcohol and gambling as “weapons of mass destruction”.
The meeting was covered by 7 news and hopefully the story may go to air tomorrow night. (Friday 1st of August 2014).
Thanks to all both within and outside of the local Casula community (too many to name) who continue to contribute so much in kind to enable the community to reach the level it has to date – with still more to come.
The Council indicated the DA for the controversial late trading pub DA will be considered by the Council in August 2014.