Page 5775 - Week 18 - Tuesday, 10 December 1991

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Clearly, people will experience difficulties because a casino is present in the ACT, and those people need to be looked out for. I think that a service of the kind we are discussing, the kind Dr Kinloch refers to, is the most appropriate way of doing that. I do not believe, and the committee I chaired did not believe, that the establishment of such services ought to be a prerequisite for the establishment of a casino. Indeed, we indicated that the establishment of those services was independent of the casino. I think, Mr Speaker, that we must ensure, in the long run, that we balance the services with the demands as they arise.

It would be appropriate, now that we are coming, I assume, to a decision, in the near future, on the establishment of a casino in the ACT - at least that is what we are all expecting - to have some in tandem decision making process at least commenced to deal with the other issue of a counselling service. I would expect the Government at the same time to be able to give some indication or some advice, when it makes an announcement on the successful tenderer for a casino, to the Assembly or to the general public about what it sees as the process for considering the need for counselling services. I certainly think that that decision should not be left beyond the actual establishment date of the casino. We need to have ourselves well positioned to ensure that we do not let those people who are adversely affected by a casino fall by the wayside and become the victims of gambling in our community.

MR COLLAERY (3.27): I rise briefly to endorse the comments of my colleague Dr Kinloch, and to similarly share his wish that the Territory, which spends many millions of dollars on gambling every year, should be able to afford a gambling counselling service, perhaps connected to an existing community service agency. I am sure that Dr Kinloch is not implying that those who work in this area are in any way deficient at the moment. Many of us know people who work in that area and who counsel people. I am sure that those services would be welcome, particularly if they are connected to the excellent debt counselling services, such as CARE and others in the community.


MR JENSEN (3.28): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move two motions, one being to reject the proposed variation to the Territory Plan relating to block 17, section 609, Theodore, and the other being to reject part of the variation to the Territory Plan for the Gungahlin suburbs of Amaroo, Casey, Harrison, Ngunawal and Nicholls.

Leave granted.

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