GREENS MP Colleen Hartland has vowed to fight on behalf of the City of Ballarat to ensure council’s fight against problem gambling is able to continue.
In its latest budget, council has introduced increased rates for pokie venues to raise money to help tackle problem gambling.
However, the state government is considering introducing a law that would prohibit councils from having differential business rates in their budget.
Greens Member for Western Metropolitan Colleen Hartland said she would firmly push the government not to scrap differential rates.
Although she said differential rates helped a range of people within the community, abolishing increased rates for gambling venues would undo all of Ballarat City Council’s positive work.
“They’re helping address the harm caused by pokies,” Ms Hartland said.
“I haven’t seen anything from them (the government) that points to them helping problem gambling.”
Just last week, The Courier told the tragic story of Ballarat’s Julie Smith, who committed suicide because of a gambling addiction.
Ms Smith hid her $1000 a week pokie habit from family and friends for 10 years before recently taking her own life.
Ms Hartland said the death of Ms Smith showed money needed to continue being injected to helping people who suffered from gambling addiction.
“We have to do something about it and increased rates for these venues is the way to go about it,” she said.