MELBOURNE Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has shot down a proposal to impose higher rates on gambling venues in the City of Melbourne, saying he could not support rates based on "individual moral prejudices".
Cr Brian Shanahan said earlier this month he was considering putting forward a motion allowing differential rates on gambling venues and "bombsites" to avoid land left unused by developers becoming a health risk.
Cr Doyle (pictured) said he did not support the idea.
"We don't have differential rates on milk bars just because they sell cigarettes, or supermarkets because they sell sugar, or hotels, restaurants or bars because they sell alcohol; or on fast food outlets," he said.
"Yet, no one would deny that alcohol and tobacco cause health problems in our community, or that obesity is a public health issue. Where would you stop? It's not a well thought through proposition."
But he did not rule out differential rates on undeveloped sites in Melbourne, saying it was a separate issue. "Some derelict sites are an eyesore.
"I'd like to see owners encouraged to develop them in the interests of both the city and surrounding land owners and tenants."
Manningham councillor Stephen Mayne, an independent candidate in the Melbourne state byelection, said if a differential rates motion was put forward he would lobby all Melbourne City councillors to vote for it.
Cr Mayne said Melbourne had to join other councils that were already using revenue from gambling venues to fund problem gambling programs.