Melbourne: The Andrews Labor Government is expanding the Libraries After Dark program giving vulnerable Victorians access to six additional libraries for evening activities.
Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz on Tuesday announced that Dandenong, Springvale, Sebastopol and Moe were the successful funding recipients for the next stage of the Libraries After Dark project. Werribee Plaza and Bairnsdale will both receive funding from 2020.
Funded as a pilot by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation in 2017, the Libraries After Dark project provides communities with an alternative to gambling venues – while providing an opportunity for social activities.
The project currently operates in Moreland, Darebin, Hume and Whittlesea municipalities. The new funding will allow the project to be expanded from four to 10 locations across Victoria.
Libraries will now extend their opening hours into the evening to offer a range of entertainment and other recreational activities as alternatives to gambling.
Libraries After Dark is focused on reaching at-risk communities and those most vulnerable to social isolation, an established risk factor for gambling harm.
Some groups are more vulnerable to gambling harm than others due to personal, economic, social, and environmental circumstances.
The funding is part of the Labor Government’s investment of $153 million over four years into projects tackling gambling harm.