Northern Beaches Council has endorsed the Gambling Harm Minimisation Policy to help prevent problem gambling on the Northern Beaches and will provide space to allow stakeholders to have a roundtable discussion on problem gambling. Council has also committed to eliminating gambling advertising on Council property where possible.

The policy and additional commitments are designed to limit the negative and harmful impact of online gambling or electronic gaming machines (or poker machines) in the community.

Northern Beaches Mayor Sue Heins said councils have an important role to play in protecting and supporting the community.

“While gambling regulation and reform is the responsibility of State and Federal Governments, Council continues to play a role in education, advocacy and lobbying and we are proud to take a leadership role to address the issue where we can,” Mayor Heins said.

“Problem gambling is not just an individual problem, but a major social issue. It can have profound affects on individuals, their families and the broader community.

“We support an evidence-based, public health approach to prevent the harm caused by highly addictive pokies and electronic gaming machines.

“We will continue to work with local clubs, hotels and the ClubGrants Committee to minimise the harms of pokies and online gaming. This includes providing space for community organisations to continue discussion with local public health, gambling-related stakeholders and local community moderated by a third party.”

Under the policy, Council will continue to educate the local community about the services available to support people facing problem gambling and reduce the risk of harm in the community.

Council will also embark on a minimisation or elimination of gambling advertising when renewing or entering into new leases and licences on Council-owned or managed land.

Information is readily available on Council’s website including a list of local services and places people can go for support. Webinars and workshops are also held in partnership with local service providers.

Council will continue as a key member of the Northern Beaches ClubGrants Committee, working with local clubs to ensure fair and equitable distribution of funds to a range of community organisations for its legislated purpose.

While there are a range of legal gambling opportunities available to the community, the policy is focused on EGM (pokies) and online gambling in line with current research suggesting these cause the greatest harm in our communities.

Council sought feedback on the draft policy in September and October last year, with around 73% of respondents supportive of the updated policy.

“Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the draft policy last year. Together, we can help minimise the harm of problem gambling,” Mayor Heins said.

The Gambling and Poker Machine Harm Minimisation Policy was first adopted by Council in September 2018. Since then, there have been changes in state legislation and the forms of online gaming now available, requiring a review and update of Council’s own policy.

For more information visit Northern Beaches Council’s website.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem you can contact the National Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 or visit Gambling Help Online at www.gamblinghelponline.org.au
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