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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3175 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

provided that they were removed out of New South Wales. One licensed club across the border where there was a population at the time of 18,000 people had a membership of nearly 30,000. Members in the ACT went across the border, thereby creating jobs and wealth that went to the New South Wales community. It certainly did not come back into the ACT community. I carried the day in this place by saying that I was opposed to them, but their introduction would mean that there would be jobs in the ACT. I was proved to be right.

There was a compromise at the time, as Mr Kaine will recall, in order to get the matter through then advisory body. The then federal minister, Gordon Bryant, indicated that he and the Whitlam government would abide by whatever was decided by what was then the Legislative Assembly of the ACT, the advisory body. A compromise was reached with a member and a 10c ceiling was placed on the poker machines. Of course, that ceiling has long gone.

Since 1974 I have seen the phenomenal growth of the club industry in the ACT, and new jobs, both direct and indirect. There has been money spent on the club industry itself, and that money has passed down to a number of auxiliary clubs, such as darts clubs, little athletics, rugby league, soccer and Australian rules. All these bodies are benefiting directly from the licensed clubs. Prior to 1974 the licensed club industry in the ACT was dying, but after the introduction of gambling we saw a huge upturn.

Mr Deputy Speaker, things move with the times, and now, as the Chief Minister has indicated on numerous occasions, the government is concerned about the gambling industry, not just the licensed clubs but also other facets such as racing, casinos, lotteries, et cetera. Indeed, in July this year the Australian Institute of Gambling Research at the University of Western Sydney tabled a survey of the nature and extent of gambling and gambling problems in the ACT. It was an interesting in depth survey. You would need to know the background which I have outlined to understand that the licensed club industry has gone on from the situation in the mid 1970s and early 1980s when they closed late in the evening, at 11 pm or 11.30 pm. Now there are 24-hour operations.

We have seen the same in the liquor industry, which is very closely associated with gaming. At one time I was a member and deputy chair of the Gaming and Liquor Authority for the ACT. Gaming and the liquor industry are closely associated, and we have chosen now to say that there is a prohibition on alcohol at certain times in the early hours of the morning.

That brings me to this bill introduced by Mr Rugendyke. He argues for a prohibition of three hours in respect to gambling. His argument is to do with problem gambling. Well, I think Mr Rugendyke's sentiments are to be admired and to be supported. I certainly would be urging members to support the breaking of the 24-hour cycle. However, gambling is not just confined to poker machines. As identified in that survey, poker machines are just one part, albeit a big part.

It may be that a government in this place in the next 12 months may look at other facets of gambling, such as the three facets of the racing industry in the territory as well as the lotteries operated from New South Wales and Victoria. Money goes interstate from all these areas. A percentage does come back into the ACT from the lotteries, but not the same percentage as comes in through poker machines and other forms of gambling, such

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