Life-saving operation at risk to club's pokie bid
A SURF club boss fears her life-saving organisation will take a dive if a fellow not-for-profit venture is granted a gaming licence.
Dicky Beach Surf Life Saving Club's Natalie Bell has petitioned against the Sunshine Coast Community and Sporting Club's (SCCSC) application for 93 pokie machines ahead of tomorrow's submission deadline.
The general manager said her club and its 1200 volunteers, 15 weekend patrol teams and 450 nippers relied on pokie machines to support life-saving activities from Currimundi Lake to Moffat Beach.
She said local club representatives felt they weren't on a "level playing field" with the SCCSC, which received $5 million in Commonwealth funds to kickstart construction on its Kawana site late last year.
Ms Bell said her club, which was founded on grassroots fundraising in 1950, had never received such a contribution and was now among those at risk of folding.
"We have 62 poker machines responsible for 37 per cent of income," she said.
"Our food is 30 (per cent), bar is 28 and another few smaller activities.
"It's well documented from Clubs Queensland that if you close your gaming room, you pretty much go under."
Ms Bell said with the population growing and strong tourism in the area, the club's life-saving services from Currimundi Lake to Moffat Beach were needed "now more than ever".
"We are saving lives, our funds are going towards a really good cause of life saving and protecting the beaches," she said. "Obviously sports is important to promote... but if we stop patrolling the beaches it will affect lives."
Fisher MP Andrew Wallace yesterday confirmed he had formally submitted "strong objection" to the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation, and expressed "sincere hope" the application would be refused.
Mr Wallace remained strong in his anti-gambling stance, referring to electronic gaming machines as "mechanisms of misery" and questioned whether the "damage caused by poker machines (is) worth the benefits they enable?".
The Daily attempted to contact the developer.