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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1815 ..

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Gaming Machine (Women's Sports) Amendment Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 14 May 2002, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (11.38): Mr Speaker, the opposition's view about this legislation is that it is appropriate to encourage, or even compel, the giving of more money towards women's sport from the profit collected by licensed clubs in the ACT from the operation of gaming machines.

Our view, as we have made it clear in the past, is that there is a considerable privilege tied up with the operation of these machines. A proportion of the profit they generate needs to be diverted towards community activities. The Liberal government provided that a fixed percentage of gaming machine profits should be returned to designated community activities.

The Labor Party, in opposition, raised concern that the amount of money going from gaming machine proceeds into women's sport was inadequate. Given that the Labor Party, in opposition, originally opposed the idea of requiring amounts to be taken from poker machine profits and given to designated community organisations, it is heartening to see that they have now taken the view that not only should that be the case but there should be an incentive for more payments to be made.

The way they intend to achieve that in this bill, however, I believe is inappropriate. The bill proposes that there should be, in effect, an incentive arrangement in place so that for every $3 a club contributes towards defined women's sports activities it should have the capacity to claim $4 towards their obligation under the Gaming Machine Act, so that a club wishing to make a payment to fulfil its requirements under the legislation can do so more cheaply by paying some or all of that money to women's sport.

As a member of the government that originally put forward the scheme for fixed amounts to go to community organisations, including sporting organisations, I view with concern measures which will water down or deplete the effect of that legislation. In some ways this bill does just that.

Mr Speaker, consider who it is that might be interested in taking up these arrangements. First of all, it will not be the very large clubs, because large clubs, to my knowledge, already meet or exceed their obligations towards the community with their fixed percentages. Some of them exceed them very amply indeed. So those clubs have no interest in minimising the amount they pay. They are already paying more than they are obliged to. It is hard to see why any of them would be interested in taking advantage of these provisions.

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