Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 June 2022) . . Page.. 1518 ..
In closing, I reiterate the ACT government’s ongoing commitment to reducing the harm caused by gambling while supporting sustainable clubs here in the ACT, evidenced by our commitments in the parliamentary and governing agreement. The government also remains committed to continuing to work with the commonwealth and state and territory governments to address the harm from online gambling and advertising through the implementation of the national consumer protection framework.
As I said, I also plan to engage with the incoming commonwealth ministers in this space to discuss opportunities to do more. The figures that point to the explosion in online gambling, the number of people that are participating and the identified harms, indicate that, just as there is with poker machines, there is more work to do in this space. That is an effort that I am committed to following through on. I am also aware, of course, that the discussion of this topic may impact people impacted by gambling. For those who are listening to this debate, I would encourage them to call Gambling Help Online on 1800 858 856 or visit their website at gamblinghelponline.org.au if you think those services would be of benefit to you.
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (4.08): Mr Assistant Speaker, at the start I want to make a concession of a conflict of interest. It is a genuine conflict of interest in the context of this debate, in that I love a punt. I really enjoy it. For me, it is one of life’s great pleasures, and I have had many afternoons betting with mates at clubs and pubs. I acknowledge that there are many Australians and many Canberrans who need to be protected and who are suffering from gambling harm. But I think we also need to acknowledge that there are thousands of Canberrans who responsibly participate in the recreation form of having a punt.
Dr Paterson and I agree on a surprising amount of things in the gambling space. I was quite pleased to see this motion come forward because, at its core, it echoes many things that I have said in this chamber for years about gambling harm. We have continued as a jurisdiction to focus entirely on the things that are within our control, and that tends to land on poker machines. That is where our focus has been when it comes to gambling harm. We all know—and it has been outlined by the minister and by Dr Paterson—that the explosion in usage is with online forms of gaming. That is where the flock is flying.
We know that people who are gambling on their phones in their bedrooms at night do not have a safety net that is provided by the local club. We know that. We all know that, despite what is said in this place by Dr Paterson and Mr Rattenbury. We all know the quickest way to lose your money is not on the poker machine; it is by gambling online. You can do it 10, 20 or 100 times faster.
We are all in support of the point of consumption tax as it has been rolled out in most places in Australia. I would say, Mr Assistant Speaker, that we are not in favour of the fact that this is the only jurisdiction which does not direct some of that revenue back to the racing codes. But when you consider how anti-horseracing the ACT Greens are, it is no great surprise. Despite Minister Steel’s protestations that it is ludicrous for me to suggest that this government would ever try to ban or stop horseracing in the ACT