The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has called on all political parties to support local community initiatives.
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.
“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 communities.