Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . .
The government will be providing ongoing support for the seventh minister in the ACT executive and associated on-costs as part of the expansion of the Assembly from 17 to 25 members during the 2016-17 fiscal year. A total of $3.114 million over four years from the 2016-17 fiscal year is provided for this purpose. I commend this part of the budget to the Assembly.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
ACT Gambling and Racing Commission—Schedule 1, Part 1.2
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.29): This is an area that in many ways has attracted some of the greatest controversy over the last period, and it is of great disappointment to me and I know many thousands of people in our community that this government has chosen to attack our community club sector. The community club sector is facing great uncertainty in this town. Our community clubs are a real asset to this town. They provide really good venues to go to.
I have spoken in this place before about the community clubs that I have been to. I was in a club last night at an event, and I go regularly to the club near me, the Raiders Club in Weston. The reality is that most people go to their local clubs for the service they offer. The food now offered by clubs is mostly of restaurant quality; it is very good fare. They are a place for people to meet and socialise. They are central to our community. They are places often where you can take a family for a meal that is affordable rather than to the higher end restaurants that are difficult for a family to afford.
But what is so important about our community clubs is the support they provide to our community—the support for local footy teams, community organisations and many local charities. The reality is that without those clubs many of those community organisations would struggle to stay afloat and stay alive. The members of those community organisations, local footy teams and so on, probably would not be able to participate. If you want to play sport, it is an expensive business by the time you buy your football boots or hockey sticks or cricket gear. The fact that clubs support those local teams takes a lot of pressure off families and enables those great community organisations that a lot of times are providing support for our kids to survive in our community.
But this government has launched almost an ideological assault on our clubs, and that is ironic given that the Labor Party are funded by clubs. Maybe they have a chip on their shoulder about it; I do not know. I know there is significant criticism about that, and, although I am a very strong supporter of our community clubs, there is no question that the fact that the government owns pokie machines and then regulates the industry is compromising.
I quote Jon Stanhope about this:
My very strong view is that the Labor Party should not be in a position where it's perceived as owning poker machines and facilitating gambling.
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