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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3207 ..

MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):

at hours in question are primarily shift workers such as police and emergency services personnel".

This example of patronage from shift workers is an extremely long bow, to say the least. Police officers work a roster system. The night shift starts at 11 and finishes at seven. The night shift for both the ACT Fire Brigade and the ACT Ambulance Service starts at 6 pm and finishes at 8 am. Clearly, these occupations would not be in clubs at the hours in question and, if the clubs were catering for these people, it would still be achievable under the proposed legislation. The fact that the club industry has used these examples creates a clear credibility issue with every argument presented to justify its opposition to the proposal and now its push to have the debate delayed.

It is plain commonsense that an enforced break can have a positive impact. Anything you can do to make the problem gambler walk away from a machine and break the session increases the likelihood that they will return to reality. They will reconnect with reality rather than the mindless pushing of buttons.

This bill is the perfect opportunity to implement a measure to tackle the problem, a perfect opportunity to implement a measure that can be evaluated in isolation by the Gambling and Racing Commission. Through the Chief Minister I have sought information that will serve as a starting point for an evaluation should this legislation pass. I would like to acknowledge the input and cooperation of Ms Tucker and her office and thank both the Chief Minister and the Gambling and Racing Commission for demonstrating firm commitment to ensuring that this proposal is monitored.

Mr Speaker, I look forward to the inevitable range of other reforms finally coming on line. They are happening elsewhere, and I will be putting my energy into pushing for the strongest possible measures being adopted in the ACT. Reforms are required to address the poker machine problem in our society, to ultimately drive down problem gambling and government's reliance on poker machines taxes.

This is the start of a long battle that will continue with the review of the legislation later on. This proposal is an important first step, and I commend the bill to the house.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Administration and Procedure-Standing Committee

Report No 7

Mr Speaker presented the following report:

Administration and Procedure-Standing Committee-Report No 7-The use of commercial in confidence and in camera evidence in committees, dated 21 August 2001, together with a copy of the extracts of the minutes of proceedings.

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