No objection from council to planned RSL pokie shift
GYMPIE Regional Council has supported a proposed poker machine licence for Gympie Golf Club amid concern over its potential social impact on the region.
While the proposal is to move 98 machines from their home at the Gympie RSL Club, it does not preclude up to 98 machines being brought into the region instead.
Comment on the application was sought from the council by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation, which will have final say on the licence.
Council voted five to two in favour of recommending that it does not object, but the office should consider the impact on the region if extra machines were brought in.
Councillors Dan Stewart and Glen Hartwig voted against it.
Councillors Daryl Dodt and James Cochrane were on leave.
In support of making the recommendations, Cr Mark McDonald pointed out the decision itself was not in the council's hands.
"If it was a new hotel being built, we'd get the same request,” he said.
"We're not really being the sole rubber stamp, so the social impact is not left with us.”
Cr Mal Gear supported the motion while acknowledging the responsibility involved.
"We don't want to be in the process of putting machines up everywhere,” he said.
Voting against it, Cr Stewart said relocating the machines would be fine, but raising the number in the region would not. Cr Hartwig said not enough detail had been provided about the application, and the OLGR should not "waste staff's time”.
"We just don't get enough information,” he said.
He was also concerned with part of the recommendation which suggested OLGR may want to consider reducing the RSL club's existing 98 machine licence to prevent a rise in the number of machines in Gympie.
By doing so, Cr Hartwig said the council may be getting involved in a private matter between two entities and favouring one side. "The council has not received enough information,” he said.