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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2017 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

I will take the opportunity to discuss some of the issues which were raised by the sports bookmakers at the Canberra Racecourse. The four companies that operate sports bookmaking have written to members raising two issues, and I want to cover those in turn. They raised the question of clause 25 and its provisions, saying that the bill does not provide for the duration of sports betting licences; that presently the sports betting licences are granted for a period of 15 years; that they enjoy security as a result of that; and that they are uncertain as to what their position is, given that the provisions of clause 25 do not specify what the duration of a licence might be.

Members will see that in clause 29 of the bill the minister is given power in writing to determine criteria for deciding a period for which sports bookmaking licences will be issued. That reflects the fact that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be appropriate in the long term. It is important to have flexibility, and this is best ensured by providing for the capacity to determine what would be the appropriate period-by determination rather than by a single provision which appears in the legislation.

It is, however, the intention of the commission that the present 15-year licence arrangements will continue. I know that, since that letter was written, the commission has spoken with those companies and assured them that there is little likelihood of there being a change to the basic regime under which 15-year licences are issued.

The four bookmaking operators also raised the question of clause 82 of the bill. They argued that, when a decision is reconsidered by the commission, the provisions there for what happens if no decision is made within 28 days should be changed. The bill provides that, if a decision is reconsidered and no action is taken within 28 days, the original decision is defaulted to, is reaffirmed. They argued that the original decision should disappear and that, in effect, no decision should be made on that matter.

I would argue that that is an unsatisfactory state of affairs. Obviously, we would hope the commission would reconsider all of its decisions within the 28-day period and would act promptly to deal with the issues which are given rise to. There does need to be a provision that allows for some mechanism for people to know in what period of time the decision will be made and what consequence will flow from a failure to make a decision within that time.

Rather than have no decision, I think it is more appropriate for the original decision to be defaulted to. That would allow the person seeking a reconsideration to have recourse to another body, such as the AAT, to seek redress for their grievance in that forum. If no time limit is provided, the person would have no point at which they would be able to go back to the AAT, or some other body, to seek that review of the decision. It makes sense to do it in these terms. It is generally more in line with what happens with respect to other pieces of legislation. I do not believe we have any other piece of legislation in the ACT in which a decision disappears by virtue of the fact that the body reviewing it does not make a decision on that matter within a specified period of time. I believe it would be a more satisfactory state of affairs to reflect the practice in other pieces of legislation.


(11.47): I have two amendments to the Race and Sports Bookmaking Bill 2001 that have just been circulated in my name and that address the two points that the Chief Minister has referred to. I will address the issues now and move the amendments when we get to the clauses. The Chief Minister referred to two matters that have been

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