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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3305..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

Minister, what steps, in the interests of reducing social harm, has our regulatory body, the Gambling and Racing Commission, taken to investigate the casino's advertising strategy and the people it is attracting?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Ms Tucker. This is an important question. First of all, hearsay tells me that the promotion was a failure and will be discontinued. However, it does point up the need for codes of practice.

As it currently stands, there is no regulation or legislation that the casino has transgressed. However, the Gambling and Racing Commission is preparing a code of practice, which should at least be circulated for discussion by December. This form of predatory advertising would be outside the code of practice.

There is not, as I stand here, a provision that would prohibit the casino doing this, but in all probability there will be in the foreseeable future. As I have said, hearsay advice tells me that the actual promotion did not really work and will not be continued.

The New South Wales government is, clearly, aware of it. It has been debated in the New South Wales parliament, where the relevant minister is on Hansard as saying he was going to be in contact with me about it. I am yet to hear from him. But I have been advised-I have followed this up-that the draft code of practice being prepared would prohibit this form of promotion.

MS TUCKER: I have a supplementary question. Can you clarify that that draft code of practice would be mandatory and not voluntary?

MR QUINLAN: It would be a code of practice. In the first instance, it would be voluntary. That is a code of practice. Of course, these things have much more force than simply having people say they agree to abide by them most of the time.

The casino would be aware that if they did transgress the code of practice the government would feel disposed to put the full force of the law behind a code of practice. Personally, in some areas, I have a preference for a code of practice. I have a preference for giving enterprises like the casino at least the opportunity for self-management and self-regulation, but with the proviso that, if the casino or any other organisation did transgress the code of practice, then the more formal processes would have to be introduced.

Nurses

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Stanhope. I refer to an article in the Canberra Times of 18 September 2002, concerning the nursing shortage. That article states:

Australian Nursing Federation ACT president Robyn Staniforth said yesterday there was a nursing shortage in Canberra, particularly in critical care, renal medicine, mental health, midwifery and aged care.

...

There were 103 vacancies for nurses in public hospitals and community care.

The article continued:


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