DISGRACE: $64m lost through the pokies in a year
FRASER COAST gamblers lost almost $64 million on the pokies in the past 12 months.
That amount is about $4 million more than the total lost the previous year.
Federal member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the increase was not evidence the Cashless Debit Card wasn't working.
"It's disappointing to see there has been an increase in money being gambled locally," Mr Pitt said.
The card prevents spending on alcohol and gambling products.
"During consultations before Hinkler was selected as the fourth site for a Cashless Debit Card trial, one of the reasons identified was that many community sector leaders were concerned that money meant for children was not being spent on them.
"The card will ensure that money meant for children will not be spent on alcohol, gambling or drugs."
Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour yesterday said gambling was a serious problem for the community.
"They are addictive machines that serve no useful purpose; they should be unplugged and dumped out in the bay to make an artificial reef," he said.
Cr Seymour said he had met a number of people in the community who had got into financial trouble, relationship breakdowns and even homelessness as a result of gambling problems from poker machines.
"We have consumer protection laws that are meant to protect people from harmful products, given the damage to communities like ours from these products I really think these laws need to be changed" he said.
"It's easy to quantify the monetary losses, it's more than a million dollars a week here on the Fraser Coast alone. What's harder to quantify is the loss of wellbeing, the suicides, the job losses, the relationship breakdowns and other gambling related disasters.
"These machines are among the worst inventions in the history of humanity. They are addictive and harmful. Communities like ours would be much better off without them."