Wyndham City has welcomed a decision by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to reject an application for 80 gaming machines in Truganina by Truganina Metropolitan Pty Ltd.
The application was for a seven-storey integrated entertainment and commercial venue on the corner of Leakes and Palmers Road, Truganina, along with a serviced apartment hotel and residential building.
Earlier this year, in documents provided to Wyndham Council, the applicant stated an agreement had been reached with NRL club Melbourne Storm to operate the venue.
Wyndham Mayor, Cr Adele Hegedich, said the decision was a victory for all Wyndham residents.
“Gaming machines do more harm than good,” Cr Hegedich said.
“This decision sends a clear message that Wyndham opposes additional gaming machines in areas where there is already financial vulnerability.”
“This is particularly relevant in the wake of COVID-19, where many of our residents have been significantly impacted in both a financial and social sense.”
VCAT’s decision to reject the application was based on locational reasons, the “absence of net community benefit” and the “failings of the venue’s design”.
“Social harm caused by gambling is well known. Research shows that areas with limited access to pokies have fewer family problems and instances of domestic violence, among other issues,” Cr Hegedich said.
“Wyndham City was the eighth-highest Victorian municipality for gambling losses in 2018-2019. We need to reduce the risk and reduce the harm that these machines cause in our community.”
There are currently 903 electronic gaming machines in Wyndham.
“Wyndham City has been advocating for some time for the State Government to seriously consider capping the number of electronic gaming machines in Wyndham at current levels,” Cr Hegedich said.
“We also want the stronger laws to protect our community from the effects of pokies. These should include $200 withdrawal limits at electronic cash machines in gaming venues, rather than the current $500 limit and also maximum bets of $1, rather than the current $5 limit.”