The Andrews Labor Government is expanding the Libraries After Dark program giving vulnerable Victorians access to six additional libraries for evening activities.
Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz today announced that Dandenong, Springvale, Sebastopol and Moe were the successful funding recipients for the next stage of the Libraries After Dark project. Werribee Plaza and Bairnsdale will both receive funding from 2020.
Funded as a pilot by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation in 2017, the Libraries After Dark project provides communities with an alternative to gambling venues – while providing an opportunity for social activities.
The project currently operates in Moreland, Darebin, Hume and Whittlesea municipalities. The new funding will allow the project to be expanded from four to 10 locations across Victoria.
Libraries will now extend their opening hours into the evening to offer a range of entertainment and other recreational activities as alternatives to gambling.
Libraries After Dark is focused on reaching at-risk communities and those most vulnerable to social isolation, an established risk factor for gambling harm.
Some groups are more vulnerable to gambling harm than others due to personal, economic, social, and environmental circumstances.
The funding is part of the Labor Government’s investment of $153 million over four years into projects tackling gambling harm.
As noted by Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz
“Libraries After Dark provides a safe and welcoming alternative to gambling venues for those who might be struggling with gambling addiction.”
“Scaling up and expanding the Libraries After Dark project provides a real opportunity to create positive change in the community and reduce the issues caused by gambling harm.”
As noted by Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation CEO Shane Lucas
“Through its offering of a diverse range of social, cultural and recreational activities, the Libraries After Dark project creates connectedness between individuals who are otherwise likely be attracted to the sense of community offered by local gambling venues, where they may be vulnerable to gambling harm.”