Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 74..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
insolvency agreement. Finally, it refers to an individual who, at any time in the last five years, was involved in the management of a corporation when the corporation became the subject of a winding-up order or a controller or administrator was appointed.
In Australia, there have been some problems with casinos. There are always worries about organised crime and casinos and there are worries about the need to be absolutely accountable and for everything to be transparent. It is crucially important that individuals who work there, who might be the holders of a licence or whatever, are actually squeaky clean. I think there is a very real need there to ensure that the right steps are being put in place for probity to ensure that the people selected there cannot be tarnished in any way.
We feel that five years is actually a very short period, especially when you are dealing with something involving fraud or dishonesty, or indeed a law against gambling. The period is simply too inadequate. My amendment, which I will come to later, recommends a period of 10 years for that. Ten years is a reasonable period. It is a period which you have in the spent convictions schemes, although spent convictions will remain on one's record forever. It is a far more realistic control measure in terms of ensuring that proper people are employed by the casino than the approach here. I certainly would encourage members of the Assembly to accept that.
We will be looking closely at how the legislation does match up. There are a number of issues in relation to the operation of casinos. It is absolutely crucial that they are properly regulated and that the community can have confidence in that being the case. I think that the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission is doing a good job. I am pleased to see some heartening signs there in terms of the exclusion of people from the casino under clause 78 in division 5.7, which is also where there are provisions now banning children from coming into the casino.
In the ACT, 95 per cent of the people who are excluded are actually self-excluded. They are problem gamblers who have registered to be excluded. I think that is a very promising sign in that the efforts to control problem gambling seem to be bearing some fruit. That is a good statistic. The other five per cent are initiated by third parties. When you are dealing with things like casinos, I do not think you can be too careful. Accordingly, I would commend to members our amendments and we will certainly be looking to see whether the probity controls here are, in fact, sufficient. I am advised that some other states have more extensive controls. They may well be applicable to the ACT should the situation demand.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.03): The ACT Greens will be supporting this bill as the changes that it makes to the law governing the casino in the ACT are fairly moderate and reasonable. Members are all aware that, over the past few years, the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission conducted a review of the Casino Control Act. The process was a thorough one, consisting of discussions and an options paper before the release of a policy paper in October 2004. The government's response to that paper is dated March 2005 and this bill is essentially about putting that response into legislation.
The most contentious areas of the review and the subsequent proposed changes is the continuing ban on poker machines in the casino. The ACT Gambling and Racing Commission is equivocal over the issue of poker machines in the casino, but the