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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 222..

MR STEFANIAK: It is a very short statement, Mr Speaker. Scrutiny Report No 1 contains the committee's comments on four bills. The four bills are indeed quite basic and a huge amount of comment is not needed . I would commend the report to the Assembly.

Might I say that the scrutiny of bills committee is looking to improve procedures whereby we can get our comments out on bills earlier than has been the case in the past. I think this will benefit members of the Assembly and that is something we are working on. However, as I said, because of the nature of these four bills there is not a huge amount of comment that can be made.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak to the report.

Leave granted.

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I concur with the comments from the committee chair. I would also like to advise the Assembly that the legal adviser to the committee will be Peter Bayne. He has provided that service to us for the last three years, eight months, and he has done an excellent job. I just wanted to indicate that for the record.

Sitting suspended from 12.25 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Poker machines

MR HUMPHRIES: My question is to the Treasurer, Mr Quinlan. On 27 November, WIN news reported that the Labor government would be looking at reversing new legislation to cease suspension periods of 24-hour poker machine facilities in ACT clubs. On the same news report a spokesman for Lifeline commented that the suspension of operating hours had already made "a big difference" and that the government should more carefully consider the consequences before it made any decisions. Can the minister explain to members why the government would want to reverse what seems to be an effective way of breaking the cycle of problem gambling for some people, or is the government more concerned that the Labor Party will lose vital economic support if the legislation is not changed? What is the path this government will go down to assist the more than 5,000 problem gamblers in the ACT?

MR QUINLAN: I gather that the Leader of the Opposition said that it was reported on WIN that the Labor government had said that it would cease the suspension-

Mr Humphries: Look at reversing the new legislation.

MR QUINLAN: I do not recall that being said. I am sure that, if someone asked us, we would look at it, as we would look at any question. That measure was put in place, with the best will in the world, to try to reduce the opportunities for problem gambling. I would like some evidence on that.

Mr Humphries: Lifeline has given you some.

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