Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 8 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3350..
I can also inform the Assembly that following comments made by stakeholders during the bill's review by the public accounts committee the Gambling and Racing Commission will shortly prepare a document to clarify how social impact assessments are conducted, particularly in terms of their consideration of potential for "over-concentration"of machines.
In conclusion, the bill and these amendments will together substantially change for the better the regulatory environment for ACT clubs. As a package they provide more flexibility to licensees in a number of ways, while also responding to the community's clear expectation that action is taken to address the harm caused by problem gambling through gaming machines. I believe that this package strikes a fair and reasonable balance.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.07): We will be supporting the amendments. It is interesting that you have a pack of amendments that is twice the size of the original bill. You would be well aware, Mr Assistant Speaker Hargreaves, of the excellent work of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in listening to the community and making very solid recommendations to the Assembly about what should occur.
That said, we welcome these amendments. They give some certainty. They allow the introduction of new players into greenfield areas, not just existing clubs. They give some of the smaller clubs some certainty.
I will foreshadow my amendment. The minister, I understand, has moved that the limit that had originally been imposed, of 10 machines, with respect to ATMs, be increased to 15. I will move an amendment to increase it to 20. I will address that further, but in the main we are happy with these amendments.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Leader, ACT Greens) (11.09): As I mentioned during the in-principle debate, the Greens do not support these amendments. We think that they set the bill back some way. We do not agree that any venue should ever be exempt from harm minimisation measures and we do not agree that we should legislate to guarantee that we remain the jurisdiction with the second highest number of machines per person in perpetuity—assuming, of course, that we actually manage to get the numbers that low in the first place.
In relation to the creation of a pool of machines for smaller clubs, I will say that in principle we agree it is preferable that new machines go to smaller clubs rather than larger ones. But there are other ways of achieving this, such as those that I previously outlined, and on balance we do not agree that we should be creating a mechanism designed to ensure that machines are always available. The Greens will not be supporting these amendments.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.10): After discussion with the Deputy Clerk, I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 2546].
As I said earlier, this amendment will amend the minister's proposed new section 22(2)(a) and replace "15"with "20". When one looks at a list of the clubs that are