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NAIDOC Ball to Prioritise Community Over Pokies This Year

GEGAC staff have been busy planning our NAIDOC Week activities, with July 7 – 14 set to be another great time for mob, bringing everyone together to celebrate our culture and our proud community.

One of the highlights of NAIDOC Week is always the Dhuna Wannik Wurk Wurk Ball (tickets are now on sale from the Culture Team house at GEGAC! Get ‘em while they’re still available!)

The ball this year will be held at the Lucknow Football Netball Club.

Some community members have asked why we chose that location, when in previous years the ball has been held at the Bairnsdale RSL.

In a word – pokies.

We are very aware that many people like “a press” from time to time, and that pokies are an attraction when going out of an evening.

But, as an organisation focused on making our mob healthier, stronger and more likely to thrive, we know that gambling is a major problem for many local families.

Gambling addiction, like other forms of addiction, can destroy people’s futures, harm their families, and this in turn weakens our community.

We heard from a number of people at last year’s ball that having the pokies next door was too much of a temptation, and many people spent more time at the pokies than they did being with their friends and family at the ball.

Meals were left on the table, uneaten. People who didn’t play pokies were left sitting by themselves.

So, we are committed to a pokie-free NAIDOC Ball this year.

GEGAC runs a program to help people struggling with gambling addiction – it’s called Quaranook.

GEGAC’s Quaranook Community Engagement Officer is Scott King.

Scotty, who has been open about his own struggles with gambling addiction in the past, says that when he was spending too much time on the pokies it cost him more than just money.

“I’d be sitting there and mob would walk past and say g’day, and I wouldn’t even see them because I’d be too busy tapping away, staring at the machine,” he said. “I was isolating myself from family, and friends. It’s no good.”

NAIDOC Week is a time to bring mob together, to yarn, and to celebrate.

We hope you can join us.

For more information visit

Want to learn more about Quaranook?

If you think that gambling might be a problem for you, give Scotty a shout.

His job is simply to yarn with mob about the potential harms of gambling, and provide assistance to anyone who wants to minimise the impact that gambling has on their lives.

That support includes a financial counsellor, who can assess your financial situation and provide advice on how to organise any debt.

It also includes a therapeutic counsellor, who can help you reduce your gambling activity, learn distraction strategies and help you focus on the important things in your life.

If you’re interested in yarning with Scotty for any reason, come down to GEGAC on a Wednesday between 10 – 2 and perch down around the yarning circle out the back of the medical building.

Or, give him a call directly on his mobile, which is 0499 834 694.

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