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Liveability – Reports

Ordinary Meeting - 12 February 2014

The City of Greater Bendigo has been proactive in developing and adopting a gaming policy. Coomes Consulting Group were contracted to assist in this, and undertook a rigorous research and analysis process to inform the policy. Amendment C110, which implemented the recommendations of the City of Greater Bendigo Gaming Policy Framework - Accessible but not Convenient (the Gaming Policy) into the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme, was also subject to extensive community consultation. The City of Greater Bendigo also commissioned research into the economic costs of EGM gambling in Bendigo. There have been two significant community consultation processes in relation to the impacts of EGM's. In 2008 the City of Greater Bendigo received 72 responses to a community feedback/survey. The key findings of the survey were:  Local government have more control over the number and density of EGMs;  That money from EGMs be returned to the local community;  The municipality be capped at its current number of EGMs.

The response overwhelmingly supported the Council’s principles. To understand the response of the community of the City of Greater Bendigo a community wellbeing survey was made available to all residents to complete online, residents could also request hardcopies. Due to the tight timeframe of the VCGR, and this falling over the Christmas and New Year period, residents have had a limit time to complete the survey. The survey closed on 24 January 2014 the results of this survey are detailed below. As with the Foundry Hotel, the Kangaroo Flat Sports Club and the Bendigo Stadium the process of undertaking this economic and social impact submission has highlighted several gaps in data availability. With the exception of Gambler’s Help and the Bendigo Family Financial Services, local service providers do not collect data that could link gaming expenditure with relationship stress, family violence, crime or unemployment. City of Greater Bendigo Gaming Policy The submission to the VCGR by The Shamrock Hotel contains substantial evidence to demonstrate that the proposal is only consistent with the last decision guidelines in the City of Greater Bendigo Gaming Policy. This is demonstrated in the brief summary below. 1. Whether there is a net community benefit to be derived from the application. Social impact surveys indicate the majority of respondents do not want EGMs at the Shamrock Hotel. The survey did demonstrate that although there is already a significant number of EGMs at the venue, there would be a detrimental impact on levels of contentment and happiness as well as sense of wellbeing and a detrimental impact on the social character of the area if more EGMs are introduced at the Shamrock Hotel.

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