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Families suffer while Government dithers

Families suffer while Government dithers

The latest Problem Gambling figures show a disturbing rise in the number of 'Pokie Mums' seeking help, said Green MP Sue Bradford.

The Green Gambling spokesperson voiced concern that figures released today by the Problem Gambling Committee showed nearly half of the 6410 callers to their helpline last year were women.

Only 28.6 per cent of problem gamblers receiving counselling in 1997 were women, indicating a growing number of families are being caught in a web of gambling addiction.

"These figures show that more women and, by extension, more families are being drawn into gambling addiction," said Ms Bradford.

"Many of the women who are seeking help with their addictions are likely to have dependant children. These children are as much victims of this affliction as their mothers are."

Ms Bradford repeated her calls on the Government to strengthen the Responsible Gambling Bill to give communities more control over the spread of pokie parlours in their own backyards.

The Green Party has withdrawn its support for the bill as it believes local authorities should have stronger powers to decide where and how many pokie machines can exist in its community.

"I call on the government to make a real commitment to families and communities, so that they can protect themselves from addictions.

"A pro-family gambling policy would give families and communities the power to bring this spiralling problem under control.

"How many families will suffer before something is done about it?"

Ms Bradford said she believed many solo mothers were attracted to pokie machines to find extra money for their children, the result of a decade-long campaign of benefit cutbacks.

"If the Government really wants to support single mums and families they should stop penalising them for not knowing who the father is, and give families the right to reject such insidious machines in their neighbourhoods."

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