Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1964 ..
and there are more dangers there, logically. Having again been associated with smaller clubs, I personally actually try to counsel people and say, "You're spending too much money there."You know some people and you're a bit worried; you know that they don't have a lot of cash in the family, and they seem to be going overboard on a poker machine. You can do that in a small institution.
I think that's actually a very strong argument in favour of taverns getting poker machines, but that's an argument for another day. I certainly do think there is strength in the argument that, in a bigger club, problem gamblers can get lost. That is a problem. They tend to be attracted to those bigger clubs.
But I would certainly agree that pokies are not all bad. I just want to put on record the contribution made by the licensed club industry to our community. A lot of that has been because of access to poker machine moneys.
For those reasons, I don't think it'd be appropriate at all to support Ms Dundas' amendment as revised, because it might actually mean that 35 more poker machines have to be handed back. If her figure is wrong and the Treasurer's is right and if her intention is to restrict it to the number of machines that have been given out to the clubs and indeed to the six hotels who have the 60 class B machines as at now, no more poker machines would be allocated for the 12 months period under this cap.
For the reasons I have stated, the opposition can't support that. Accordingly, we will be opposing this particular amendment by Ms Dundas.
MS DUNDAS(6.11): I just wanted to clarify something. Perhaps the Treasurer misheard what it was that I was trying to do. I did not ever say that reducing the cap was the solution. But I do believe it is important that, if we continue without allowing a reform process that we all agree is necessary to actually take place, we exacerbate the problem by saying, "This is it; we're not allocating any more machines until we have the reform process."
We then say that we are serious about the reform process; this is a cap that's going to now be in place for 12 months. If the reform process takes place earlier, as the Treasurer indicated that it might when he introduced this piece of legislation, then the cap can change. But I think at this point if we are serious about reform then we have to stop what it is that we know we are doing that is wrong until we can find a way of doing it better, as opposed to just continuing to do the same things that I maintain are making the situation worse.
Title agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Amendment Bill 2003Debate resume from 3 April 2003, on motion by Mr Wood: