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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3385 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

not wanting to restrict the legitimate pleasure that many individuals get from gambling, I believe it is incumbent on gambling providers to fund programs that ameliorate the problems caused by the provision of such services. Going through this report now, I do not see that they are highly represented in this. One organisation specifically related to gambling research, which I understand is no longer in existence, and Lifeline got some money, but that is it, as far as I can see, although I could be wrong. There might be some I do not recognise as doing that work.

As I said, the proposal for a levy is in line with the recommendation of the Productivity Commission that services awareness promotion and research activities related to problem gambling are likely to be most effectively funded from earmarked levies on all segments of the gambling industry, with the allocation of funds independently administered. That is also in line with our select committee report. The Productivity Commission put it very succinctly. Earmarking gambling revenue for problem-related gambling services, gambling research and community awareness is appropriate since gambling creates the need for such services.

We have a very strong argument for a levy rather than the Government's proposal, but I do support quite a number of the concerns the Government have raised. I also acknowledge Labor's concerns about the accuracy of the way this report is set out. There is obviously room for work there.

Members, particularly the Government, might be interested to know that in New South Wales a similar proposal for regulation of how clubs spend money is under review. There is a view that clubs' contribution schemes need to be regulated and that there need to be clear guidelines for contributions, there needs to be good oversight and there need to be funding protocols. The Government's proposal is very loose. I understand that it is also administratively quite complicated and more complicated than our levy proposal.

The New South Wales model for clubs' expenditure on community projects is currently being reviewed by government, clubs and NCOSS, the New South Wales version of ACTCOSS. They are trying to finetune a scheme which does have some value so that social need and priority projects are funded. It is a regulated scheme. It involves all stakeholders. In its refined incarnation, the New South Wales Department of Community Services may be involved in helping to assess applications at a local and regional level to ensure community need is met.

This Government's current proposal does not take into account problem gambling. In light of current experience in New South Wales, I also think there is a reason for them to reconsider their proposal. We could learn from the experience in New South Wales rather than having to go through the experience ourselves and make the same mistakes.

I think the information in this report is useful. It may well need to be refined, but I still think we need to see the levy idea supported, because it is clearly getting support from inquiries and from major community groups, rather than this loose arrangement. As I said, in New South Wales problems have been indicated already.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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