Vandals target signs in pokies fight

Signs with the message to 'Keep Romsey pokies free' were targeted with spray paint last week.

Signs with the message to ‘Keep Romsey pokies free’ in the Romsey township were targeted with spray paint last week.

Sometime overnight last Wednesday and Thursday at least four of the signs were spray-painted with opposite messaging: ‘Give Romsey pokies $$ 4 our town’.

Anti-pokies group Keep Romsey Pokies Free had posted about eight signs as part of its campaign against an application for electronic gaming machines in the town.

Romsey Football Netball Club Inc applied for 50 EGMs and a $10 million pub renovation last year. The decision now rests with the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

“We’re in a bit of shock,” one Keep Romsey Pokies Free member told the Express.

“It’s worrying. What sort of town are we turning into that a different opinion can’t be expressed?”

Romsey’s Leading Senior Constable Simon Warr said police were investigating the matter and appealing to the public for information.

“There is obviously a little bit of divide in the community and it’s causing some concern,” he said.

“People in town need to be respectful of each other. Any concerns about the current application before the VGCCC can be dealt with directly through the council and the VGCCC.”

Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to contact Romsey Police.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council CEO Bernie O’Sullivan said the council was aware of the signs and was investigating. He said no local laws permits had been issued for the signs.

He also encouraged the community to voice their opinions on the VGCCC application for the Romsey Hotel via the VGCCC and council’s survey.

“The VGCCC recommends individuals make their submission through the established portal link for this application,” he said.

“We also encourage Romsey residents or those who live within five kilometres of the venue to complete council’s survey, to help inform council’s submission.”

Anyone who has not received a survey in the mail and believes they are eligible can visit the Romsey Hub (96-100 Main Street, Romsey), or call council on 5422 0333 so that a survey can be provided.

To assist with any queries and support survey requests, the Romsey Hub will extend its opening hours until 8pm on Tuesday, April 2, Wednesday, April 3 and Thursday, April 4.