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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 86..


MR QUINLAN (continuing):

As members would be aware, recommendation 27 of the Gambling and Racing Commission's review of the Gaming Machine Act provided for the gaming machine class distinction and its associated restrictions to be removed and for gaming machines to be accessed only by not-for-profit clubs. The government does not support this recommendation. While it has been agreed that class C gaming machines should still be available only to not-for-profit clubs, it is inequitable that taverns' only rights to gaming machines are to operate two class A machines when these machines simply do not exist any more. They are obsolete.

This proposal will enable taverns to have access to two class B gaming machines, in line with those types of machines allowed in some hotels, subject to the tavern owners meeting certain social impact assessment requirements. The social impact requirements form part of an overall strategy for harm minimisation and are applicable to all applicants for gaming machines. These measures are consistent with the code of practice for gambling operators and will significantly address the risks to minors and others in the community associated with the issue of gaming machine licences. This measure is also consistent with the government's policy of supporting and encouraging small business in the ACT and will reinstate the taverns' rights under legislation to access gaming machines of a type that is current and available.

Finally, it is proposed that the cap on the number of gaming machines in the ACT will again be set at 5,200 for a further 12 months to 30 June 2005. It would be inappropriate for the cap to expire and the restrictions on the number of gaming machines permitted to be relaxed at this time. I would have liked to bring forward a full package of reforms recommended and accepted by the commission and government at this time, but the workload of the parliamentary draftsmen precludes me doing so. It is necessary to bring forward these three elements, and the further legislation will be through as soon as is possible. I commend the Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2004 to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Parentage Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 20 November 2003, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (5.25): Mr Deputy Speaker, the opposition will be opposing this piece of legislation. I can count on this Assembly that this legislation will succeed. Accordingly, we will be moving an amendment at that stage-more of that later.

This is a controversial bill, and it is somewhat sad that it has come before the Assembly. It is one in a raft of bills brought in by this government. Ones that were brought in previously do not pose much of a problem to anyone. The opposition was quite supportive of large portions of what the Chief Minister brought in and what was passed in 2002 and early 2003, with the exception of the taking out of any reference to the institution of marriage, which certainly caused the community and us a lot of concern.


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