Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 416 ..
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (3.55): Mr Speaker, this motion really is a political stunt. Having done quite a number of political stunts myself in the past, I am not opposed to the notion of political stunts.
Mr Corbell: Never let it be said.
MR MOORE: No, we have to get that into perspective. They can be a very useful device. The difficulty, though, with this political stunt is that it is naive in its execution and I believe it will actually make the problems worse. That is not to do with the first part of the motion, Mr Speaker, the establishment of a Select Committee on Gambling. I do not have that much of a problem with the establishment of the committee, although, considering that we are going to have the report of another committee in respect of which the Chief Minister has just circulated the terms of reference, it would seem to me to be very sensible, even now, to adjourn this debate until that committee has reported and then take into account its information and work on its information as well.
There is a slightly different focus for that committee. It takes into account competition policy, but the terms of reference also include that the contract specifically address the social and economic impact of gambling in the ACT community, and the streamlining of gambling regulation and the Territory enforcement of such legislation; options for the most appropriate regulatory restructure for the industry - - -
Ms Carnell: Michael, it is only taxpayers' money. We will just do it again. Do not worry.
MR MOORE: The Chief Minister interjects, "It is just taxpayers' money. It is all right. We can do it again and again". It is quite clear that her tongue was firmly planted in her cheek as she made those comments.
It is not just a select committee. The motion also asks for the support of "a consultant with expertise in the area of inquiry". I also have no objection to the use of consultants, but I think it is appropriate that that be contained in some way or another. It seems to me that the cost of the consultant chosen will have to come from the Assembly budget, and I think that is something that members ought to be aware of when they are doing this. I attempted to use a consultant and started to go through a process of using a consultant in the Planning and Environment Committee some years ago. That consultancy was sidestepped and was used by the Government, which was fine; but I think you have to take those issues into account.
I think the most important outcome of this in the short term is that it will increase gambling revenues. There is no doubt about that in my mind. With increased gambling revenues will also come increased problems associated with gambling - the very opposite of the intention of Ms Tucker in putting up this motion, which is about, in the short term, putting a cap on.