16.6 C
Byron Shire
March 31, 2023

Ballina Council makes a move on pokies

Latest News

Is polluting a lake in a national park to support new housing ok?

From Byron Bay to Evans Head to Casino the questions about how we deal with what is politely termed ‘effluent’, and how that may or may not destroy our local environment, demand real and urgent answers.

Other News

No street gathering policy for Ballina Shire

A majority of Ballina Shire councillors have voted against a Greens-led motion for a new policy enabling resident-led street closures for gatherings and play.

‘Bees they’re fucking awesome!’ so why are we introducing flies?

The little varroa mite is leading to the eradication of many beehives in NSW. Researchers will be releasing pollinator flies in the Coffs Harbour biosecurity Red Zone to help pollinate berry crops.

Apples and pears

by Victoria Cosford These long hot golden days are lulling us into the belief that summer will go on forever...

It’s Sunset and it’s Loooooong

If there’s one thing that indie music fans can all agree on, it’s The Long Sunset – the wanderlust music and camping festival set in the lush surrounds of the Canungra, Queensland hinterland on 29 April.

Janelle Saffin holds the seat of Lismore

Janelle Saffin is in the lead for the seat of Lismore after yesterday's state election. Although preroll and postal votes are yet to be counted, it’s hard to imagine Saffin’s position changing.

Cooler year ‘reprieve’ but trends continue, says Australia’s Environment Report

The latest annual report on the state of Australia’s environment has suggested that 2022’s higher than average rainfall could provide “a reprieve” for Australia and better enable it to cope with the forecast 2023 dry spell.

Pokies came under fire at the Ballina Shire Council meeting yesterday (Thursday) when the rental discount for Club Lennox came up for discussion. The Club is built on council-owned community land and currently receives a 50 per cent rental discount in recognition of the good community work they do.

What seemed to be a relatively routine matter of extending a rental discount for a club on community land turned into a debate on the social cost of poker machines,’ said Councillor Keith Williams.

Deputy Mayor, Councilllor Nathan Willis moved a motion that offered the option of a 75 per cent  discount on the rental for Club Lennox for reducing poker machine numbers by 10 per cent or conversion to a $1 peppercorn rental if poker machine numbers were decreased by 20 per cent. The Club currently has 26 machines.

Community sentiment

This reflects the strong community sentiment to reduce the number of pokies machines across the Ballina electorate. A survey conducted across the electorate earlier this year by the new owners of the Beach Hotel in Byron found that three-quarters of the people surveyed supported a cut back on poker machines ‘while just 10 per cent opposed the move’. 

Not council role

Councillors Smith, Meehan and Cadwallader spoke in opposition to the motion saying that the industry was already heavily regulated by the state and it was not Councils role to regulate the machines or tell The Club how to operate its business.

However, Councillor Williams highlighted that taking up the proposal was entirely at the Club’s discretion saying, ‘We are offering a financial incentive for the club to consider the impact of poker machines on the community. If the option doesn’t work for The Club, then they can continue with the current 50 per cent discount.’

This recognises the great work Club Lennox already does in supporting a vibrant, welcoming community.’

Councillors voted 6–4 in favour of the motion with Councillors Willis, Williams, McCarthy, J Johnson, Parry and Wright voting for and Smith, Cadwallader, E Johnston and Meehan voting against.

Council will receive a further report on poker machine harm minimisation strategies being undertaken by Councils next year.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. I also spoke against this motion along the lines of : “ it’s not council’s role to impose social engineering on the club”. And if we go that way why not hit alcohol and tobacco as well.
    60% of patients in Australian hospitals have conditions related to alcohol and tobacco.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Appeal to locate man last seen at Casino on way to Tweed

Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a man from Grafton missing from the North Coast area.

Do you still need help to get two rooms fixed after the 2022 flood?

More than 80 Lismore residents have had help getting a few rooms in their flood-impacted homes re-sheeted and habitable following the devastating 2022 floods.  The...

$15,000 fine and warnings over illegal logging in Kyogle Shire

Urbenville-based logging company Rojech Pty Ltd were fined $15,000 earlier this month over logging operations near the entrance to the Border Ranges National Park in Kyogle Shire.

No street gathering policy for Ballina Shire

A majority of Ballina Shire councillors have voted against a Greens-led motion for a new policy enabling resident-led street closures for gatherings and play.