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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3218 ..

It was interesting that he again said that the people who tried to influence the decision, to influence the board of the Labor Club, were in fact the executive of the local ALP and the federal executive. There we have, again, the conflict of interest in the use of poker machine licences in the ACT well and truly made by the fact that we had organisations trying to influence an outcome. Had they been successful, they would have broken the law. The fact that they were not successful lets them off the hook, quite clearly, but it is an interesting result.

In relation to gaming, Mr Barr has been rolled on poker machines. I note the recent revelation that Mr Barr took a proposal to caucus to reduce the number of poker machines and he was rolled. It was not a very clever strategy, really, for getting a result. We had mention of it the other day in the chamber as well—that he would like to see the number of poker machines reduced. So we will see. The WIN transcript reads:

The ACT Gaming Minister, Andrew Barr, has been forced to shelve a plan to cut the Territory’s poker machine cap by 600 machines.

Perhaps he was thinking of shutting down the Labor Club and getting their licences back, or taking some off the Tradies.

Mr Seselja: That would be the easiest way to do it.

MR SMYTH: That would be an easy way. It continues:

WIN: The Gaming Minister has been forced to back down from a controversial plan to cut the number of pokies.

Barr: Look. I’m very concerned about the number of poker machines in the ACT and my view is that we should be reducing the number of machines in the Territory.

But clearly he was beaten by his colleagues. Yes, he has a position, but he is not able to push it. There are a number of issues there but, given the hour of the night, I might leave it at that. Needless to say, I think the whole issue of the sale of the Labor Club is not finished. We look forward to the result of the review that the minister is doing, and potentially legislation in this place, later in the year.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (11.50): In the coming financial year the ACT Greens will be watching developments in relation to gaming and racing with interest as there are some key strategic operational issues being pursued. We note that in April this year the Gambling and Racing Commission released an issues paper called the “Review of the Governance Provisions in the Gaming Machine Act 2004”. This followed considerable debate in the Assembly in respect of the proposed sale of the Canberra Labor clubs in 2009 and the report the Gambling and Racing Commission prepared following its investigation into possible breaches of the Gaming Machine Act 2004 in that process. Following a two-stage consultation phase with the community and the gaming industry, we expect to see in the Assembly the Gambling and Racing Commission’s recommendations and possibly changes to the Gaming Machine Act 2004 should the recommendations be adopted. I will be closely monitoring this process.

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