Lalich's payout over pokies
INDEPENDENT Fairfield councillor Thang Ngo's problem gambling forum next month is a "waste of time" according to Fairfield Mayor Nick Lalich.
Cr Lalich said he would not attend the forum on May 16 because without input from the State Government, the forum would achieve nothing.
Cr Lalich said pokies did more good than harm, with much of the money put back into the community. He also questioned Cr Ngo's anti-pokies credentials.
Fairfield Council refused requests from Cr Ngo to have the council provide a hall for the forum, saying it was not a council initiative.
Cr Ngo said in the end he had to go to Liverpool Council, which let him use one of their venues.
Cr Ngo sent out invitations to the forum in the same week it was revealed families in Fairfield spent up to 78 per cent of their disposable income on gambling.
Cr Lalich, Fairfield State Labor MP Joe Tripodi and Cabramatta State Labor MP Reba Meagher will not attend.
Ms Meagher said she was unable to make it that day.
Cr Ngo said he was disappointed with the response.
"It's in their backyard that 78 per cent of their constituents' money is spent on pokies," he said.
"This is a major issue; the pokies are bleeding our community dry."
However Cr Lalich questioned Cr Ngo's commitment to the anti-gambling cause.
"At the last mayoral election Cr Ngo's Unity Party candidate was Ross Treyvaud, who ran the Cabramatta Inn," he said.
"Cr Ngo didn't have a problem then with gambling money."
Cr Ngo rejected the claims and said his views were on the public record and hadn't changed since day one. "Ross Treyvaud was the Cabramatta chamber of commerce president and paid for his campaign out of his own pocket," he said.
The forum will be held at the Green Valley District Centre between 11am and 1pm on May 16.