let's stop the rot|
By Kate Sullivan
Fairfield Champion, Wednesday, 9 January 2008
politicians are forming an army to attack Fairfield's pokie palaces.
Fairfield councillor Thang Ngo has also joined forces with the NSW Greens and other community groups to make a summit a reality.
He has support from Uniting Care, the Salvation Army, Council of Social Service of NSW, Wesley Mission and wants to get the high profile anti-gambling voices on board as well.
He said it is time to educate as many people as possible about the dangers of gambling and work together to stop the problem from increasing.
"This area has the largest number of problem gamblers in the state but the lowest incomes. I want to see some action," he said.
The Salvation Army and Fairfield RSL have hosted their own gambling forums in the past few years but Cr Ngo doubts their effectiveness given they were held in a club environment.
"It is like having an alcohol summit in a Jim Beam factory," he said.
He has called for a separate community summit involving leading campaigners to explore "real" solutions.
Fairfield Greens representative Bill Cashman said he was disappointed the council did not see gambling as a "critical issue".
"You can look at speeches from [Mayor] Lalich as far back as 1999," he said.
"He says they are going to do something [about the gambling problem] but nothing has been done.
He said Cr Ngo's position mirrored what the Greens had been calling on the NSW Government to do on a broader scale for years.
"Cr Ngo has been championing the issue as long as we have, but he's had little support from the local council which has mothballed the idea for up to another two years," he said.