Residents launch assault on pokies at Brisbane shopping centre

Troops are being rallied in Brisbane’s inner west as residents plan a public relations assault on the Pig ‘N’ Whistle pub and its plan to install 45 poker machines inside a family-friendly shopping centre.

More than 50 residents gathered in Indooroopilly on Tuesday night to plan a boycott of the the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre pub after the state government regulator approved its application to extend trading hours until 4am and install poker machines.

Residents are at their wits’ end and frustrated they have no way to appeal the decision to install 45 pokies inside Indooroopilly Shopping Centre. 

Residents are at their wits’ end and frustrated they have no way to appeal the decision to install 45 pokies inside Indooroopilly Shopping Centre. CREDIT:LYDIA LYNCH

Now the application has been approved, there is no way for the community to appeal to the the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal - only to the Supreme Court.

Indooroopilly local Robyn Pacey said residents were at their wits’ end.

“I support the boycott because going through the proper process has had no impact whatsoever,” Dr Pacey said.

More than 50 residents raise their hands to indicate support for a boycott of the the Pig ‘N’ Whistle pub.

More than 50 residents raise their hands to indicate support for a boycott of the the Pig ‘N’ Whistle pub.CREDIT:LYDIA LYNCH

“There was no community consultation, and this is the only way to make the Pig ‘N’ Whistle, the shopping centre and the government know that the community does not want this.”

Lorraine Cherney, who has worked in gambling regulation for the past 15 years, delivered a 10-page submission to the regulator earlier this year.

She said the licensee's community impact statement was “littered with mistakes” - yet was still approved.

“This venue is highly inappropriate. It goes against the government’s own guidelines on what is a gaming-sensitive site,” Mrs Cherney said.
A spokeswoman for the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation said the pokies would be put in a "designated gaming area which is not easily accessible".

"It is located at the rear of the premises. The machines would not be visible to persons outside of the hotel, including from inside the shopping centre, "she said.

"Further, as a condition of their licence, the licensee is required to ensure the gaming machine area is under constant supervision to ensure that minors do not enter the area."

The community meeting was hosted by local Greens MP Michael Berkman, who said it was wrong to put pokies inside a shopping centre that prided itself on being family-friendly.

“The location is so grossly inappropriate that the regulator rejected an almost identical application back in 1998," Mr Berkman said.

"Nothing will be achieved unless we fight for it."

 

Lydia Lynch, Brisbane Times, 29 November 2018

Sign up for updates