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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 3 December 2020) . . Page.. 131 ..


Mr Ramsay went on to say—this is the champion of the clubs industry:

The capacity for the industry to engage in reform … at this moment is … limited … Clubs are currently focused on their sustainability—

and survival—

so that they can continue to provide the services …

They were the words from Gordon Ramsay who, at the end of the day, was not considered a friend of the clubs industry but who was savvy enough to wake up to the situation. He was savvy enough to read the wind and see what was going on out there.

Of course we know that the government took reform very seriously. They engaged Neville Stevens to conduct a review, which was long. It was a costly and exhaustive process. Recommendation 2 of the Stevens report is as follows:

The government commit to no change to gaming taxation measures and no further compulsory reduction in the overall number of gaming machine authorisations …

These are not ideological games. What we are talking about here today are the jobs and the livelihoods of over 1,700 Canberrans.

But it goes much wider than that, and we saw this during the shutdown of the pubs. The shutdown put enormous pressure on so many of the suppliers to the clubs. So many businesses and their workers were threatened with closure and unemployment, such was the impact that the club shutdown had on all economic activity around our clubs.

The other thing that we learned—or at least I think most of us already knew it and it was reinforced during the clubs shutdown—in regard to the Greens’ apparent mission to lower problem gambling rates in the ACT, which I think is a great mission, and what we saw during the shutdown, particularly once the New South Wales clubs reopened many, many weeks before ours, was that that is where ACT pokies players went to play.

You could see this in a number of ways. I made a number of trips to Queanbeyan during this period and was astounded at the number of ACT numberplates in the car parks at the Kangaroos Club and the Queanbeyan Leagues Club. It was abundantly clear that most of the clientele at these clubs was from the ACT; and this is borne out by figures from ClubsNSW. ClubsNSW data released soon after the reopening compared per machine turnover in the fortnight prior to shutdown with per machine turnover in the fortnight after reopening. Across New South Wales the per machine turnover increased by a healthy 87 per cent in the fortnight after reopening. That is the New South Wales figure, 87 per cent. In Queanbeyan the figure was well in excess of 500 per cent. It was 87 per cent across New South Wales but in Queanbeyan it went up 500 per cent.


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