A CHANGE of rules to protect poorer areas of Corangamite Shire from the adverse effects of gaming machines is being considered.
The shire is investigating the effects of poker machines on the well-being of its community and the economic performance of towns in the shire.
The council’s chief executive officer Andrew Mason said it was likely to implement a planning scheme amendment to protect vulnerable areas from an influx of poker machines.
The two local submissions were among 29 received by the Victorian Competition and Energy Commission, which has been asked to provide a final report to the state government by December 14.
As part of the same submission process, the Great South Coast Group said gambling was imposing more socio-economic stress on Aboriginal communities in south-west Victoria.
The group said it had raised the impact of problem gambling on Aboriginal communities because the issue was at risk of being overlooked.
The group’s concern about the impact of poker machines on south-west Aboriginal communities was part of its wider submission that called for more regulation of poker machines to reduce the harm they caused to communities.
The Great South Coast Group, an alliance of the Warr-nambool, Moyne, Corangamite, Glenelg, Southern Grampians and Glenelg councils, business and the community sector, said a scoping project in 2011 had found that poker machines were a significant cause of problem gambling in south-west Aboriginal communities. It said the Aboriginal culture of shared responsibility was causing hardship to extended family and friends, who were supporting problem gamblers and their families.
To combat the problem, a partnership was formed this year between south-west Aboriginal groups, gambler’s help and health services to work collaboratively on the issue and raise community awareness.
The partnership involved representatives from Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative, Kirrae Health Services, South West Consortia Closing the Gap, Bethany’s Gambler’s Help Services and the South West Primary Care Partnership.
The group said the strong opposition to poker machines expressed in a Moyne Shire community survey in 2010 indicated that people in the shire “have not become more accepting of poker machines with lengthened exposure”.