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Call for political parties to support stronger communities

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The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has called on all political parties contesting the November state election to support initiatives that make local communities stronger, more resilient and better connected.

Cr Mary Lalios, MAV President said that planning for the safety, health and wellbeing of communities remained a shared role for the State and local government.

“We want to see partnerships, policy reform and program commitments from the next Victorian Government that respond to some of the public health and safety challenges impacting on communities.

“Victorian gambling losses climbed to $2.7 billion in the past year. More than $7 million is lost by Victorian gamblers every day, with losses disproportionately felt in our least affluent postcodes.

“A stronger emphasis on prevention initiatives would help to reduce harm and the public health costs associated with electronic gaming machines.

“Councils require a greater say about where poker machines are located to protect vulnerable communities.

The current system favours applicants and requires a council to prove there is ‘no net detriment’.

“Legislative changes are needed to reverse the system and require the applicant to meet the economic and social impact test that their application is beneficial to the local community.

“We also seek the State to introduce new harm reduction measures, such as imposing a $1 maximum bet limit, reducing gaming venue operating hours and lowering the daily cash withdrawal limit from EFTPOS facilities at gaming venues from $500 to $200.”

Cr Lalios said that councils also provided many local facilities and services that contribute to the social and cultural fabric of our communities.

“Inclusion of people in community life helps to reduce the impacts of isolation, which also improves the overall public health outcomes for Victoria.

“Further State investment could boost the development and upgrade of sporting and aquatics facilities to cater for the needs of diverse communities, including female-focused sports.

“We have seen tremendous growth in female sports participation, but suitable facilities have not kept pace and create a barrier to participation.

“Victoria has also experienced Australia’s biggest population growth ever over the past year, primarily due to overseas migration. We welcome new arrivals to Victoria, with councils providing a range of programs.

“However, integrated settlement planning is needed to ensure newly-arrived migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are adequately supported to become active and independent participants in their new community.

“We call on the State to work collaboratively with rural and regional councils to develop a settlement plan that links to regional employment and economic development opportunities.

“Councils would welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with the next Victorian government to deliver a range of initiatives that strengthen our community safety, health and wellbeing,” she said.

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View the MAV Call to Parties state election plan

Contact Cr Mary Lalios on 0447 189 409 or MAV Communications on 9667 5521.