Shortly after Julia Gillard announced that she would no longer support Andrew Wilkie’s pokie reform initiative, anti-gambling advocate Tim Costello has expressed his disappointment with the local government. He spoke to The Age recently, announcing that he no longer has faith in state governments, as a result of the situation.
Costello works very closely with the Churches Gambling Taskforce, and he was incredibly supportive of Andrew Wilkie’s plan for poker machine reform. While many advocacy groups expressed their disappointment with the proposed plan, Costello stood behind it, and was livid upon hearing that Gillard backed out on her end of the bargain.
He believes that Gillard’s motivation was purely financial and has been very vocal about this: "Just extraordinary suffering and it's all for the greed of the industry and the state treasury”’. However, plenty of organizations, even problem gambling associations, admitted that Andrew Wilkie’s plan for poker machine reform was not the best model to help fight problem gambling.
According to various advocacy groups, there are plenty of other opportunities available to help curb gambling addiction rates in Australia – and we hope that the Gillard government will utilize them in the future.