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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1396..

Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2001

Mr Humphries , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (10.55): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I ask for leave to have my speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows:

Mr Speaker, the Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2001 is a very simple piece of legislation that extends the current restrictions on the number of gaming machines that can be licensed in the Territory.

Currently, the Gaming Machine Act 1987 restricts the number of gaming machines in the Territory to a maximum of 5,200. However, this restriction only applies up to 30 June 2001.

As all Assembly members would be aware, Mr Speaker, this Government is committed to ensuring that gambling is not allowed to proliferate in the Territory. We are committed to encouraging harm minimisation measures in relation to all forms of gambling, particularly with gaming machines.

To this end, I have asked the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the Gaming Machine Act 1987 to ensure that it meets community and regulatory needs. This review will be quite detailed and will take the best part of this year to conduct. There will be extensive community consultation as part of the review. Indeed, the Commission advertised for public comments on the first stage of the review on 3 March 2001 to obtain the ideas and thoughts of individuals and the industry on the operation and control of gaming machines. The first period of public consultation has now closed and 1 understand that the Commission is currently analysing the submissions it has received.

I trust all Members of this Assembly will take future opportunities to present their views to the Commission on this important review of a very topical and critical piece of legislation.

I wish to emphasise, Mr Speaker, that as part of this review, the Commission will be addressing the long-term question of the number of gaming machines that should be licensed in the Territory. At the end of the review, the Assembly will be presented with a properly considered proposal for the number of gaming machines that is appropriate for the ACT along with the necessary controls for their operation.

Mr Speaker, the Commission has also recently announced the conduct of a major research study into gambling in the ACT. This research, which has already commenced with the conduct of a comprehensive survey of ACT residents, should

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