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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2662..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

had the mea culpa stunt. There was a picture. Did you see the picture? Did the picture come with that article? There was this sort of stunned-mullet faced Mr Hargreaves. You could taste the bitterness in his mouth of having to say, "We are going to mumble, mumble"-as the national average of police numbers in the ACT went out the window, didn't they, Jonno? Jonno has a smirk. Mr Hargreaves got rolled by caucus. For their whole time in opposition it was, "We're going to do better, we're going to support the police, we are on side, we have the AFPA talking for us!"He got rolled. I assume, Jon, you can still taste the bitterness in your mouth, since your colleagues let you down.

There was some talk of what is happening out there. We have recently had a spate of armed hold-ups, some involving violence-we had the very sad murder at Latham. I do not think we have had this level of armed violence in the ACT ever before. I certainly do not recall it; I do not think the statistics would show it. This has all happened under a Jon Stanhope Labor soft-on-war government. That is what it is-soft on crime.

MR SPEAKER: Order. The time for this discussion has concluded.

Gaming Machine Bill 2004

Debate resumed from 14 May 2004, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (4.10): Mr Deputy Speaker, the opposition will be supporting the government's Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2004. There are several amendments by other members, some of which we will be supporting and some of which we will not. It is a comprehensive bill, and I am pleased to see that it largely follows the government's response to the study last year, most of which was quite sensible. That is to be commended. There are, however, a few problems and a few surprises. It is important that we have a consolidated bill in relation to this most important issue.

Gaming is a vexed issue. The downside of gaming is that some people cannot do it responsibly. They suffer and their families suffer. That is one of the downsides of it. On the upside of it, in terms of benefits to the community, the club industry has been a source of employment for thousands of Canberrans, many of them young Canberrans, and the main form of entertainment for most people in Canberra-and economical entertainment at that.

As a result of the community contribution scheme, which we introduced, a significant increase in the money from gaming revenue has been going back into the wider community in a range of areas, and that is very much to the good. That is not to say that clubs and other licensed establishments have not put money into the community in the past. Of course they have, and very successfully. Indeed, most of the venues that have gaming machines-all but a handful of gaming machines are in the club industry, and, of course, all the class Cs-were set up for specific purposes.

In Canberra the majority of clubs were set up for sporting purposes. Other clubs were set up as Returned Service League clubs, community clubs and ethnic clubs-some successful and some not so successful. All of them have contributed in some way to our community and, on the upside, gaming revenue has played a significant part in ensuring


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