The state election was a focal point for SARC’s advocacy on poker machine reform, but now that the election has been and gone, we move into the next phase of working to free Tasmanian local suburbs from poker machines.
Our commitment is as firm as ever. We see the harm poker machines are causing to thousands of Tasmanians and their families.
We know that this reform will benefit our state through better outcomes in health, education, employment, justice and community wellbeing.
Over the past two months, we have hosted numerous media events, radio interviews, spoken on panels, launched a series of television, radio and social media ads and hosted Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesperson Tim Costello as he travelled around the state.
You will continue to see us, as passionately as ever, advocating for positive change, and dispelling myths and misconceptions on poker machine reform.
There are many opportunities ahead to influence and drive a better outcome for Tasmanian families and communities.
If you are keen to be involved in this work, please get in touch to talk about what you can do to contribute to pokie-free Tasmanian communities.
I want to thank everyone who supported our election advocacy activities, which also included advocating for more affordable housing and better care for vulnerable children and young people.
With the help of thousands of supporters and allies, we were able to achieve a high level of public engagement and discussion on our priority issues throughout the election campaign. Lets keep building on this together.
Pokies open letter handover
It was a proud day when we delivered an open letter to Premier Will Hodgman calling for poker machines to be removed from Tasmanian pubs and clubs.
With a total of 6663 signatures and more than 1000 personal comments, this was a strong statement that Tasmanians do not want pokies in their local suburbs.
Thanks to the efforts of many community groups, organisations, businesses and individuals, we were able to come together and call for change.
On the same day, we were involved in a media conference which included a local GP representing the Royal College of GPs, a local education consultant, and Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania to urge for poker machine reform – showing just how many different groups, individuals and professions see and are concerned about the impact of poker machines.
Did you catch our TV, radio and social media ads in the lead-up to the election?
In the final weeks of the election campaign, we rolled out our series of TV, radio and Facebook ads as we urged the community to throw their support behind the push for pokie-free communities.
Twenty years ago, when the decision was first made to put pokies in our pubs and clubs, Tasmanians were not given a say. That’s not fair.
Pokies are deliberately placed in the most disadvantaged areas. That’s not fair.
Forty per cent of the money taken by poker machines comes from those with an addiction. That’s not okay.
One in three Tasmanians know someone with a serious problem gambling on pokies. That’s not okay.
Those were our messages throughout the election campaign and continue to be our messages now.
Poker machines do not belong in our communities and we will continue to push for pokie-free suburbs in Tasmania.
Tim Costello tackles Tasmanian pokies
It’s hard not to be impressed by Tim Costello.
The World Vision chief advocate and Alliance for Gambling Reform spokesperson was in Tasmania in February for a whirlwind tour of the North and North-West.
It was a fantastic opportunity for Reverend Costello to see the impact poker machines are having on Tasmania and to advocate for a pokie-free future.
He managed to fit in interviews with four radio stations, interviews with The Examiner newspaper and WIN News, as well as attending other forums and meetings – all to spread the word that poker machines are harming our state.
Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation screening
We never miss an opportunity to talk about why we want poker machines out of pubs and clubs.
Last month, SARC manager Meg Webb was part of a discussion panel in Hobart following the viewing of the fantastic film, Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation.
This discussion panel also included the manager of the Fern Tree Tavern and Ricky Pfeiffer, who has his own personal story about pokies.
View the Q&A session on the SARC Facebook page.
Although the election has now been and gone, our messages are still the same – our local communities will be better without poker machines.
This is a fight that we will continue, because we know that if poker machines are phased out there will be more jobs overall, Tasmania will receive an economic boost and, most important of all, lives would be saved.
We were also involved in a poker machine forum hosted by The Advocate newspaper at Ulverstone in February.
Here, Meg Webb was invited to discuss the issue of pokies in pubs and clubs alongside political candidates and MPs, as well as head of the Love your Local campaign, Michael Best.
Starting school behind media event
The start of a new school year can be a challenge for anyone.
It’s the start of new routines, of new friends and teachers, of new shoes, packing lunches, new uniforms, buses and homework.
But what happens if you don’t have a roof over your head? If you don’t have any food, money, family support, or basic necessities?
What happens if you are 13 and don’t have a place to call home?
Earlier this year, SARC hosted a media event focusing on just how hard it can be for some young people as they prepare for another school year.
In 2015-16, 342 unaccompanied children aged between 10 and 17 presented to specialist homelessness services in Tasmania.
These are children who are not on a Care and Protection Order, but are unable to live at home – they literally have nowhere to go.
Watch as SARC researcher Catherine Robinson and Anglicare community service worker Alisha Turner explain the challenges some children face when heading back to school.
What are our researchers working on?
Here at SARC, we have a number of research projects on the go.
Our senior researcher Teresa Hinton is undertaking a research project, Breaking the Cycle: Alternatives to recurrent child removals in the Tasmanian Child Safety System. This research looks at the issue of mothers who have repeatedly had children removed by Child Safety Services, and the appropriateness and efficiency of the support they receive. It will make recommendations on more effective approaches to this support in order to reduce the rates of repeat removals.
A second, connected research project, In Limbo: Tackling income and housing challenges for low income Tasmanian parents engaged in the process of family reunification, is being undertaken by SARC researcher Lindsey Fidler. This project will explore the collateral consequences of children being removed from families, including the loss of welfare payments and higher risk of homelessness for parents, and the barriers this presents to successful reunification of the family.
Watch out for these pieces as they progress and are launched in coming months.
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