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The draft Gambling and Poker Machine Harm Management Strategy (draft Strategy) was presented to Council on 17 April 2018 and placed on public exhibition for a period of 2 months, closing on 1 July 2018. Response from the community was largely in support of the draft Strategy, with 131 submissions in support and 60 objecting to the actions proposed.

The draft Strategy went on public exhibition for a period of 2 months, closing on 1 July 2018. Council received 191 submissions, 131 in support of the draft Strategy and 60 against. Of the 131 submissions in support of the draft Strategy, 87 were from an online campaign platform.

Of the 60 submissions against, 45 were form style letters sent by local organisations receiving funding through ClubGrants.

To ensure a rigorous consultative process, Council also convened a meeting on 23 July 2018 with local Club Presidents and CEOs, together with representatives of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and Clubs NSW.

The purpose of this meeting was to give clubs a further opportunity to comment on the draft Strategy and to clarify any confusion around Council processes. The primary issues raised confirmed the position of the clubs and hotels on this draft Strategy.

The primary reasons in support of the draft Strategy were concerned with the harms associated with gambling addiction and a conviction that the State Government and local hotels and clubs are not showing sufficient due diligence to mitigate these harms. The majority of submissions in support of the draft Strategy also put forward several suggestions for further implementation of the actions. The principle grounds for submissions against the draft Strategy were a belief that this is an issue for the State Government and therefore not the domain of Local Government. This primary objection relates to Actions 1 and 2 in the draft Strategy. The advocacy role remains in the draft Plan as it is considered reasonable that Local Government NSW undertake this role in regards to this issue. Clubs have clarified that Liquor and Gaming NSW have recently committed to providing free and publicly available reporting every six months. Upon review, this seems a suitable reporting commitment and Action 2 Part C is amended to reflect this. Parts A and B of Action 2 have also been removed to allow a broader and more flexible scope to the Plan, and the wording changed to focus on the role of Local Government NSW in broader advocacy.

There were no consistent and sustained objections to Actions 3, 4, 5 and 6, however several useful suggestions were received to amend Action 4 to include Council’s website as the mechanism for providing this public information and a commitment to working partnership with key stakeholders.

Wording has also been amended in Action 5 to clarify Council staff as Council’s most appropriate representative on the Local ClubGrants Committee.

The most contentious issues raised were with Action 7, regarding consideration of restrictive clauses in leases with Clubs on Council owned land, as it could put smaller clubs in financial risk. The application of Action 7 includes consideration of individual circumstances and the possible impacts on financial viability. There are currently a number of bowling and golf clubs located on Council owned land that could be affected by this Action.

It is recommended to remain for the consideration of Council on a case by case basis, noting that this action may be tested in the courts, if enacted.

Note: Deputy Mayor was Candy Bingham

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