THE Queensland State Government’s gaming machine regulator has ignored the concerns of residents after it approved 45 pokies at Brisbane shopping centre Pig n Whistle in Indooroopilly.
The approval, revealed on Tuesday, came despite huge opposition from locals who have staged rallies, organised a petition and written to authorities about their concerns.
A survey organised by opponents found 80 percent of those who responded did not want poker machines at the shopping centre.
The Pig N Whistle outlet, owned by the Mantle Group, is close to a food court, shops, an Event Cinema and public areas that are frequented by families and children.
The move comes as a surprise given a similar request was denied almost 20 years ago.
A previous application for poker machines was rejected by the then Queensland Gaming Commission was rejected in 1998, but the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) today approved the latest application.
State Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman said the public’s opinion for the approval of the new poker machines was overwhelming.
“Our volunteer-run community survey found just 4 per cent supported pokies,” Berkman said.
“Just 30% had even heard about the application.
“This would mean 45 pokies in a family-friendly environment at the Indooroopilly shopping centre, right next to the food court and cinemas.
“It’s directly next to the west side’s biggest bus interchange.
“The location is so grossly inappropriate that the regulator rejected an almost identical application back in 1998.
“The regulator had that evidence in front of him, and he still approved the application.”
Mr Berkman said the decision shows the rules were weighted in favour of applicants.
“For example, there is no requirement for the regulator to notify anyone about their decision, except for the applicant,” he said.
“We found out about this decision completely by accident.
“There is no ability for the community to appeal to QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal), only to the courts.
“Pokies are terrible for locals, but they’re a gold mine for the super rich pub owners and gambling companies.
“The owner of the pub, Godfrey Mantle, and his associated companies have donated more than $56,000 to Labor and the LNP since 2007.”
A community meeting to discuss the next move for the opponents of the pokie installation will be held on November 28, 6.30pm, at an as yet undecided Indooroopilly location.
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