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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 2965 ..

many of our community clubs to their knees and that the biggest challenge facing a number of them now is their very survival.

I fear—and I think Mr Rattenbury probably fears as well—that some clubs will close after the Delta wave shut us down. I think we share the fear that some of the clubs that closed will not reopen. We all get the parliamentary agreement, and we understand that this is a parliamentary agreement struck between two parties and that Mr Rattenbury is the minister and is in charge of rolling that out. I would hope that Mr Rattenbury and his colleagues can also try to understand that this agreement was struck before the lockdown of 2021. If some adjustments need to be made to some of the timetables to ensure the actual survival of our clubs, I hope that consideration will be given to this. I hope that is genuinely the case and that, if those changes are made, they will be made to save thousands of jobs, to allow the clubs to continue to support the community in the way that they do.

I am urging the minister to focus heavily on the real-world problems that are facing these organisations; to continue to get advice from the clubs; and to, if necessary, adjust his program if and when that is required. I am pleased that this is not as contested a space as it was during the last term, but, as the shadow minister, I need to emphasise that this sector is in an extremely precarious position.

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (10.32): I am very pleased to hear the update on the progress of the government’s gambling reform agenda, recognising the impact that gambling has on many of our citizens. This time last year, I was director of one of Australia’s most prominent and longest standing centres for gambling research at the Australian National University. I spent 15 years of my life researching gambling. When I started, I did not understand it. I thought it was fun and I did not really understand how people became addicted or how it was harmful. Year in and year out, in story after story, a feeling of sickness grew in me. I began to see the harm and the insidiousness of this activity in our community. Like most things, once you see it, you cannot go back.

I see the 47,000 people in this city that experience harm from gambling. That is 30,000 who experience harm themselves and 17,000 who experience harm from a family member’s gambling. There has been lots of discussion in this sitting on the 38,000 Canberrans living in poverty in the ACT. There are more people in this city that are experiencing the impacts of gambling harm than there are people living in poverty.

In two weeks time, in a normal year, it would be Gambling Harm Awareness Week. I stand here today to highlight the harm and the impacts that gambling causes in our community. COVID-19 has seen Canberra’s pokies fall silent. The lights are out. However, as our venues have been shut, we have been in our homes for the last eight weeks and we have been barraged day in, day out, on TV and social media, by gambling ads.

Australia’s experience of the pandemic has seen foreign-owned corporate bookmakers gain tens of billions of dollars in market value during the last year. Global corporation Flutter Entertainment, the parent company of Sportsbet, gained almost $30 billion in

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