Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 3 December 2020) . . Page.. 132 ..
Why would the Queanbeyan figures be so much higher than the figures for the rest of the state? There can only be one explanation. It was the flood of players from the ACT, which saw a fivefold increase in the amount of money going into the machines in Queanbeyan.
I think that that is extremely significant when we consider the bigger picture of what is going on here, because I think it is clear that the Greens are on a mission to clear poker machines out of the ACT. I know that is not what they will say. They will just want to continue reducing them until they get down to nil. They want to reduce the number of poker machines to protect problem gamblers. They want to put in regulations to protect problem gamblers while jobs are lost here. It is crystal clear that ACT punters will just go across the border.
So jobs will be lost here. Clubs will close. Sporting teams will lose their facilities and their support. So many community groups will find themselves without funding. The suppliers who serve those clubs will also be forced to reassess their business. And the effect on problem gambling? Nothing; nothing at all. We will just go across the border and do it in Queanbeyan.
The biggest effect will be that this government will lose a source of revenue that is, in theory, going to assist those suffering problem gambling. The problem gamblers will still exist; but we will just have to find the means to assist them.
I am going to give Mr Rattenbury some credit, believe it or not. In the clubs industry there is a belief and a perception that Mr Rattenbury will engage with them more closely than Mr Ramsay did. Certainly my motion has included some of what I think are extremely positive aspects of the Labor-Greens power-sharing agreement in the club space, because I applaud them and I think we should march forward and institute them as quickly as we possibly can. I live in the hope that we can find a more pragmatic gaming minister in Mr Rattenbury; but I also understand that he is going to be hard pressed to do so because his voter base is demanding otherwise.
At this stage of the game I have not seen the amendments from Mr Rattenbury. I was certainly expecting some amendments. Wow! Give me a week to read those and I am sure that I will respond to those when Mr Rattenbury tables them.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (10.31): I thank Mr Parton for bringing forward this motion. The government recognises the important contribution that community clubs make to the ACT community. They do it in a number of ways, including providing facilities and activities for the community to use and enjoy; providing financial and in-kind support to the community; funding sporting teams and sport and recreation infrastructure; directly employing many Canberrans; and, as Mr Parton noted in his remarks, indirectly supporting further employment through their suppliers and contractors.
The clubs have been a really important social hub for so many in our community, and the historical origin of the clubs particularly speaks to that, where they were about the