Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2079 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
I wonder why we would extend the cap for another 12 months, knowing that we are going to run out. It means that we will have to come back to the Assembly to extend the cap and I do not quite understand the logic of doing that.
It is certainly the Government's view that 12 months should be sufficient time for the new commission to examine the impacts of gaming in the ACT, through the research and study required. I do not think that we should be looking at a two-year window for that to be done. I think we should be trying to do it as soon as possible.
Remember, the club industry is an important industry in the ACT. The requirements of the club industry with regard to poker machines, as I said, are about 350, on average, per year. I see no reason to extend the period if we know that we are going to run out inside that period, so the Government will not be supporting Mr Kaine's proposed amendment.
MS TUCKER: I would like to comment on the amendment and on the cap being renewed. The point that has not been made so far - - -
MR SPEAKER: Mrs Carnell closed the debate. Just ask for leave to speak.
MS TUCKER: I thought she was just speaking to Mr Kaine's amendment.
MR SPEAKER: It has not been moved yet. We are still in the in-principle stage. Just ask for leave, please.
MS TUCKER: I seek leave to speak.
MS TUCKER: The issue of the cap is that it was to be there until information was available for members of the Assembly to make a policy decision about the number of poker machines in the ACT. We did allow an increase in the number of machines. We did not just say that we would have a cap at the number of machines that existed when we considered the legislation because there were a few clubs which had already expended significant amounts of money on the development of their premises on the assumption that they would get extra poker machines. The legislation was clear in its intent and I am sure that if you looked at the debate back then you would see that the extra poker machines were there to accommodate those clubs, often clubs setting up in new areas, which had already spent a lot of effort and money on getting set up on the assumption that they would have poker machines.
The whole idea of having the cap was to say, "Enough. We stop at this point. We do the work, including the social policy research, and then the Assembly can say on behalf of the ACT community, from an informed position, what they think would be a suitable number of machines". This research is needed all round Australia. That came clearly to the select committee from all the people who are working in the area in the different States and also from the Federal people who are looking at it with the Productivity Commission.