Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1029 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
Given the reservations with which we accept the Bill, I have diarised that I will be calling for a review of the operation and application of the provisions of this Bill in, say, six months' time. I would expect at that time a considerable amount of refinement to the Bill. In the interim I recommend that we allow the passage of the Bill in this current form. I commend the Bill.
MS TUCKER (11.02): The Greens will be supporting this legislation. It does incorporate broad consumer protection strategies and attempts to ensure high standards in the industry. It aims to create a secure regulatory environment for interactive gambling. We have had a lot of discussion in this house about gambling and how it can be managed and how the industry can be managed. I think this Bill is really important and I congratulate the Government for bringing it forward. It will need ongoing monitoring and possibly amendments down the track, because this industry is changing so quickly and we are not quite clear on what will be happening in the future and how this will work. I am sure that the Government understands that and is open to it. The Bill gives fairly broad powers to the commissioner, but the Greens and I are happy with that because I believe that the nature of the industry requires them. Legislation is necessary because this area of gambling just cannot be left unregulated.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (11.04), in reply: Mr Speaker, the Interactive Gambling Bill 1998 will provide for a licensing system and regulatory structure for interactive home gambling products in the ACT which, as we have already heard this morning, protects players and will enable the collection of revenue by the ACT Government in respect of interactive gambling activities. The Bill has been modelled on Queensland legislation which was passed in March this year. Legislation has also been passed in the Northern Territory. I understand that the Northern Territory legislation contains a reduced level of player protection compared to Queensland legislation and the ACT Bill.
Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales are aiming to introduce legislation in their spring sittings, while Tasmania is planning to rely on existing legislation, which does not prevent interactive gambling. Western Australia, the only exception, is seeking to prohibit providers from operating and advertising in that State. I am sure that we will all be very interested to see how Western Australia manages to stop interactive gambling.
Mr Quinlan: They will play here.
MS CARNELL: That is one thing we would like. It is all very nice to try to stop the change that information technology and things like interactive gambling are bringing in the world, but I somehow think that Western Australia might just be fighting a losing battle on that one.
Significantly, the strong points of the Bill will relate to player protections, many of which were outlined during the tabling of this Bill. A very important element in providing player protection will be the ACT's participation in the intergovernmental cooperative scheme relating to interactive gambling. This scheme will ensure that players participating in ACT authorised interactive games, wherever their place of origin, can be confident that checks on players and operators for such things as age, address, probity, honesty and