first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Mayors from five councils across Melbourne united on Tuesday morning to publicly launch the ‘Alliance for Gambling Reform’.Moreland mayor John Kavanagh, Whittlesea mayor Kris Pavlidis, Darebin mayor Kim le Cerf, Wyndham mayor Peter Maynard and Yarra acting mayor Misha Coleman gathered at 11.00 am and revealed a banner that declared ‘Councils Unite for Pokies Reform’. A number of councillors from other districts were also in attendance, and encouraged to play a role in the reform.The Alliance was formed in a bid to make the fight against pokies a united one.It proposes the following reforms:Maximum $1 bets as recommended by the Productivity Commission and supported by Coles;Reducing maximum venue operating hours from 20 a day to 14;reducing the maximum daily cash withdrawal from $500 to $200;Strengthening the duty of care for venues and staff to prevent customer harm;Maintaining the 50-50 split between clubs and pubs and retiring surplus club entitlements.With the state election closing in, now only four months away, the Alliance director and spokesman Tim Costello gave thanks for the unparalleled support given from the leaders of Victoria’s Local Governments against gambling.“Councils such as Moreland, Darebin, Whittlesea, Yarra and Wyndham are at the coal face of gambling harm and I sincerely welcome the commitment of their mayors to the cause of fixing this blight on Australian society,” Mr Costello said.“[A] record 18 Victorian councils have signed up to financially support The Alliance in 2018-19, up from 12 in 2016-17, and we are all committed to ensuring the next election delivers real reform.”Moreland mayor John Kavanagh also echoed Mr Costello’s sentiment.“Our councils are dealing with the dire consequences of pokies. As community leaders we are standing together to make sure pokies reform is a key state election issue,” he said.Mr Costello vocalised that it was about time the Victorian Parliament revisit the 2017 pokies legislation, which had had a reverse effect, allowing a 6 per cent jump in poker machine losses since December 2017.This Friday the annual venue loss figures will be released, but Mr Costello said that he already knows that after 11 months, 2017-18 will hold the biggest jump in Victorian pokies losses in a decade.He went on to enforce the significance of the Alliance.“We need urgent reform to prevent the needless suicides, family violence, bankruptcy and fraud which flows when $2.7 billion a year is ripped from the community through addictive poker machines in 470 suburban pubs and clubs,” he said.“Australians suffer the greatest per capita gambling losses of any people on earth and we are not going to tolerate national annual gambling losses of $25 billion a year anymore, including $13 billion lost on poker machines.”The Alliance for 2018-19 includes the councils of Banyule, Brimbank, Darebin, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Kingston, Knox, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Mitchell, Monash, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Moreland, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra.last_img