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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 5552..


organisation with appropriate expertise. Operating needle and syringe programs alongside existing health services maximises the harm reduction outcomes that NSPs generate. Furthermore, based upon the international experience of NSPs, where the programs operated in close proximity to drug treatment programs, it increased the rate at which prisoners voluntarily access those programs and contributes to lowering the rates of intravenous drug use in the prison environment.

Additionally, the degree of success of an NSP is reliant upon the support of prisoners and the staff administering the program. The ACT Greens recognise that there continues to be concern amongst corrections staff about the program. As such, it is more appropriate that it be conducted by ACT Health and community organisation staff at an ACT Health facility to ensure that the program maximises its potential for success.

Gaming Machine (Problem Gambling Assistance) Amendment Bill 2010

Debate resumed.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.16): The opposition will not be supporting this bill. Let me emphasise that our position in no way seeks to downplay the importance of ameliorating the effects of problem gambling. But what we do not believe is that it should be done in this way and what we do not believe is that the bitsy approach to such an important issue should be followed.

There are currently four proposals, three in this place and one in the federal parliament, that will affect how we deal with problem gambling and, indeed, how we reflect the issues that are affecting the club movement at this time. We have got the bill from Ms Hunter, we have got the new liquor licensing regime from Mr Corbell, we have an announcement of some proposals, without much detail, from Mr Barr, and of course we have got the Gillard-Wilkie issues that will be dealt with in the federal parliament.

Problem gambling remains a significant concern for all of the community. But apportioning the blame and punishing the club sector for problem gambling is short-sighted. What we need to ensure is that problem gambling is not the disruptive and destructive influence that it has been. What we need to do is address the root cause of the problems. And the only way we can do that is to be fully informed. I do not know whether Ms Hunter has read or not the Gambling and Racing Commission annual report, but at the bottom of page 4 it says:

The Australian National University's ... Centre for Gambling Research under agreement with the Commission produced a first draft report of their prevalence study of ACT gambling and problem gambling.

My understanding is that this is the first time it has been done since 2001, so what we will have, very shortly—an indication at the club's function on the weekend was that it will be out in the next week or so—is the most up-to-date data about problem gambling in the ACT. This is not relying on old data. It is not trying to move data


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