In 2018, despite an impressive community campaign to stop it, the Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation approved an application from the Pig N Whistle Indooroopilly for 45 new pokies at the pub which is inside Indooroopilly Shopping Centre.
This was a pretty major shock. My office led a volunteer-run community survey and 80% of residents surveyed said they opposed the application, with only 4% supporting it.
Pokies rip billions of dollars from the pockets of everyday Queenslanders each year, but they’re a goldmine for super rich pub owners and gambling companies.Our does not want 45 new pokies in an allegedly family-friendly shopping centre, next to a church, GP clinic, childcare centres, schools or bus interchange.
Our community fought hard against the decision, but there is no ability for the anyone to appeal to QCAT.
This local example shows that the State government’s rules are rigged against local communities. For example, there is no requirement for the regulator to notify anyone about their decision except for the applicant.
This decision feels like an all too familiar example of the cashed up pokies lobby getting their way. The owner of the pub, Godfrey Mantle, and his associated companies have donated more than $56,000 to Labor and the LNP since 2007.
My office uncovered documents which revealed that the Pig N Whistle made a practically identical application in 1998, but the proposed location is so grossly inappropriate they were rejected twice. In 1998, the now-Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming Mr David Ford said that "it is difficult to see how any new application for the same premises would be successful". Years later, the Commissioner seems to have backflipped completely.
You can view my original submission to OLGR against this application here.
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