- This case represents a successful challenge to a pokies installation made by a local resident, by objecting to the grant of a planning permit by the council. In its finding, the tribunal stated that an assessment of the social and economic impacts of pokies was required under planning legislation as well as during the licence application hearing by the commission.
- Darebin City Council granted a permit to Stolberg Hotel for the installation and use of 30 pokie machines.
- Susan Rennie (a local resident) sought a review of Darebin City Council's decision to grant a permit on the basis that the social and economic impacts of the proposed installation and use of pokie machines was not adequately considered by the council.
- Darebin City Council submitted that an extensive analysis of the social and economic impacts was required for a gaming license under the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 rather than a planning permit under the Environment and Planning Act 1987.
- The tribunal found that the Environment and Planning Act 1987 and Victorian planning schemes require consideration of the significant social and economic impacts of the proposal under section 60(1A)(a) and the social and economic impacts of the location of gaming machines under clause 52.28 of the Darebin City Council planning scheme.
- The decision of Darebin City Council to grant a permit was set aside.
- The council did not adequately assess the social and economic impacts of this proposal on the community.
- The council did not seek the same level of information that was provided by Ms Rennie. In fact, the tribunal viewed the level of information provided by Ms Rennie as 'a good example of the level of inquiry and consideration that may be necessary in order to reach an informed view about the social and economic impacts associated with EGMs in a particular location.'
- The social and economic impacts of the location of the proposed pokie machines was inappropriate.
- The tribunal did not agree with the town planner that an additional gaming venue would have little effect on the community as there is already significant access to gaming in the area.
- The tribunal followed the reasoning in Branbeau that problem gambling is more likely to emerge if gaming machines are located in 'poorer communities.'
- The tribunal found the Stolberg Hotel was located in a 'poorer community' and therefore its location for 30 pokie machines was inappropriate.
VCAT decision - Rennie v Darebin City Council
See our infographic on the City of Darebin and compare its pokies statistics with other councils across Victoria.