Decision to refuse application was right
I am writing to express my support for the decision by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) to reject the application put forward by Bendigo stadium Ltd for 44 new electronic gaming machines (EGMs) at its venue the Wellington at Botanical Gardens. There are currently 628 poker machines in 11 venues in the City of Greater Bendigo. In 2015-2016, in Bendigo on average $133,000 was lost in the pokies each day, with $48,696,384 lost in that financial year, equating to $77,542 lost per machine. As such the City of Greater Bendigo already experiences significant gambling related harm, with it ranked 25 out of 70 LGAs for its losses on pokies in that same year. This is of concern as gambling related harm is associated various negative health and social outcome indicators such as increased psychological distress and depression, drug and alcohol problems, criminal activity, domestic violence and suicide. It is also worthy of note that the highest number of pokies and the highest losses per head are in some of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in Australia. I think that when faced with these applications in the future the Bendigo community and council should continue to ask - how many machines are too many? And what are the social and economic costs to the local community by increasing the numbers of these machines?
I congratulate the VCGLR and the Bendigo council on its decision to refuse this application for increasing the number of pokies in Bendigo as this decision will help to prevent further gambling related harm in this community.
Mark Halloran, Malmsbury
Australia should welcome asylum seekers
The Australia where I live is a welcoming, multicultural country. Migrants and the refugees we welcomed from places like Europe, Asia and Africa have contributed immensely to the economy and cultural richness of our nation.
So why not welcome those in our offshore detention centres? The sole “crime” of these men, women and children is to have arrived here by boat. What happened to our moral and legal responsibility for the safety and well being of these detainees?
It is unsafe for asylum seekers in Nauru and Manus. Many vicious attacks from locals have been officially reported. Women have been raped. Indefinite detention, inhumane treatment and separation of families, have resulted in severe mental trauma and anguish.
Are you aware that the people who came by boat from Indonesia felt they had no choice?
Indonesia is hostile to refugees. They have no access to services like education and medical support. Negligible Australian refugee intake means a lifetime of waiting for a visa. Without this, airlines cannot fly asylum seekers to Australia (fine $10,000). They can’t fly. They can’t stay or go home. Our government has destroyed the only hope they had. #BringThemHere
Rosie Baker, Woodend
Action is inhumane
I find the Federal Government's policy to cut welfare to and to deport asylum seekers, who are here for mental and physical health reasons, reprehensible and recidivist. #LetThemStay and relocate to Australia those remaining on Manus Island and Nauru.
The actions of the Turnbull Government towards Asylum Seekers is inhumane.