Coober Pedy News
       No. 69                                                     12 November  2004

Archived copy

  Letters to Editor


         'No Pokies for Coober Pedy' Meeting

About 40 people turned up on the evening of Melbourne Cup day at the Greek Hall, including 3 Councillors, and representatives from local pokies venues.

Cr Boro Rapaic, a self-confessed former gambler years ago when opal was plentiful, said that he wanted to rid Coober Pedy of poker machines. He said that in the old days the money won in local (illegal) card games was recirculated in the town, but revenue from poker machines went out of the town. He said that no committees of local clubs allowed poker machines to be placed in their clubrooms.

"Maybe in 2 years we will be effective if we keep pushing."

He welcomed SA Upper House MP Nick Xenophon to address the meeting.

Mr Xenophon told how, as a lawyer, he was confronted many times with clients in deep trouble because of their uncontrolled gambling on pokies. He felt he had to do something about it. Becoming the No Pokies MP was the result.

He said that the SA Parliament was considering legislation to reduce the number of poker machines by 20%, and he would be moving an amendment to the effect that local communities would have more say on the placing of poker machines in their area.

Quoting publicly available sources, he said that:

Mr Xenophon invited comments from the audience, and responded:

Q. What would the SA Government do for money if they didn't get poker machine tax?

A. SA lasted from the 1800's until recently without it. The Federal government could be asked to put more back out of other taxes.

Q. How effective are gambling counsellors?

A. Maybe 30 - 40%. If what they do does not work they have to try something else.

Q. Why single out Coober Pedy for 'no pokies'? Why not the whole state?

A. My aim is 'no pokies' for the whole state.

Q. Do pokies get put in 'poor' areas?

A. Pokies get put in areas where pubs are.

Q. If Coober Pedy voted against poker machines what would happen?

A. It would have a ripple effect of galvanising a state wide anti poker machine movement.


Other suggestions:

Insert sound cards in the machines that indicate a loss rather than a win.

Plastic trays for the money to fall in to rather than metal ones - less sound when the coins fall.


As a result of the meeting a steering committee will be set up to work on the issue of 'no pokies for Coober Pedy'.

Petitions are already circulating.

A website is being set up along the lines of 'No Pokies for the Opal Capital of the World'.


The odds of a return are better from noodling opal than playing pokie machines.


Cr Boro Rapaic No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon



In his media release, Aboriginal Housing Authority (AHA) General Manager, Chris Larkin says, 

"The AHA, in partnership with Coober Pedy Council, Umoona Council and local service providers, have been meeting regularly to discuss a proposed Transitional Accommodation facility.

The proposed Coober Pedy facility would cater for the needs of Indigenous people who, for a variety of reasons, require a short term accommodation option, up to three months.

The proposed facility would provide short term accommodation for up to 60 people and would be staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A strong management team would be developed by the AHA to ensure that the varied needs of people using the facility would be met.

The concept of the proposed facility would be based on the specific needs of the Coober Pedy Community and could be similar to the facility that was developed and is now being run by the AHA in Ceduna. Members of the Umoona and Coober Pedy Councils, as well as some Coober Pedy service providers, have visited the Ceduna facility and held discussions with Ceduna Council, Police and local service providers.

Feedback from these meetings has been very favourable, with Ceduna local services highlighting the positive impact that the Ceduna facility has had on the community.

The Transitional Accommodation facility would provide an integrated services approach to enable the health, emotional and social well being needs of residents to be addressed and where appropriate, residents would be linked to existing services in Coober Pedy."

"Wet Year" Visitor


Ian Montgomery

The Australian Pratincole - Stiltia isabella  

With all the dribs and drabs of rainfall this year we have an unusual tourist. This photo is taken from  and is used by kind permission of Mr Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road Bluewater Qld 4818 Australia
Tel +61-7 4751 3115
Wild bird photos: <

Maybe the pratincoles around Coober Pedy lately are the Australian Pratincole, or maybe migrant from Europe.


"Pranticoles have a character all of their own, like Charadrius plovers on the ground and like terns in flight. Small bird (L 25 cm), with long pointed wing and deeply forked tail. Breeding is colonial and occurs on flat areas with sparse vegetation. Birds occupy marshes or similar areas normally near water, but also fallow land, steppe and crops far away from water. The diet consist principally on insects. Migrant."

He who loses money, loses much;   he who loses a friend, loses much more;    he who loses faith, loses all.

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.