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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 212 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

Doing our inquiry two years ago, we discovered that no research had been done in the territory about matters of this kind, and we had to draw on experience in places like South Australia and New South Wales, which may or may not be directly translatable to the ACT situation-probably not. There is much yet to be done. The research program is in progress, we understand.

There is still a time limitation-1 July, from memory-on the current cap that was imposed on the number of poker machines, and that cap will cease to apply from that date. Of course, it is within the power of the government or the Assembly to further extend that cap or to make some other decision about it. The idea two years ago was that the research would be completed before 1 July of this year and decisions could be made about these other issues in light of proper information and good research and data collection in the territory.

I suppose those of us who were members of the committee will continue to monitor the outcomes of the activity being undertaken by the Gambling and Racing Commission to implement these recommendations, so that we do not allow them to fade away and never know whether they are achieved or not.

A current topic that has not gone away is interactive gambling. We are still waiting with some interest for some Commonwealth action in connection with some aspects of that. While much has been done in the last two years since this report was tabled, there still remains much to be done, and we should not allow these questions to go off the agenda.

Another recommendation I would like to refer to again is the one that there should be a review of legislation governing clubs. It was pretty clear to us that since poker machines and "clubs" go hand in hand under our existing legislation then it is necessary to clarify, after all these years of the use of poker machines, just what constitutes a club. At present clubs are so loosely defined that almost any group of people who get together and form an association for almost any common purpose can define themselves as a club and, technically, once having done that, they could seek poker machine licences.

There are some issues about the legislation currently governing the operations of clubs that I think need to be reviewed. They are a bit antiquated. They do not necessarily reflect the situation that applies today, as opposed to the situation that applied 20 or 30 years ago. I feel that that was a significant recommendation. I am not quite sure what the government has done about it, if anything. Perhaps the minister could inform us what is happening about the review of club legislation.

By and large, some good work has flowed from the committee's inquiry and report two years ago, although, as I have said, we need to keep a continuous watch on some of the issues that have not yet been resolved. One of the crucial ones is the 1 July date, the drop-dead date for the cap on the number of poker machines. We will have to consider that some time before 1 July and decide what, if anything, we wish to do about it, rather than just let it lapse.

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