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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2453 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

In our view, the club will be considered as one of the attractions of the entire project and the main reason why people will visit the facility.

I will table a letter, again supportive, by Michael Doyle, president of the Ginninderra Swim Club. He states that the club has over 800 swimmers and goes through what they have won, how happy they are and how successfully they operate at the Kaleen sports centre. He feels that, if a licensed club were situated at the Belconnen pool and recreation centre and it was conducted along the same lines as the sports club at Kaleen, he would not expect any problems with utilising the swimming facilities. I am happy to table all those letters.


: You will need leave, but you have already read them into Hansard.


: Fine. Mr Quinlan made a few good points. I might add that I can recall a very small club operating at EPIC when basketball ran in what is now, I think, building B. It had, as I recall, seven poker machines and was a very popular little venue after matches. That is yet another example of a little club which probably complemented very nicely the sporting facility it helped service.

There are precedents here. There are potentially some really dangerous problems with this legislation. I reiterate what I said about the competence of the Gambling and Racing Commission. Ms Dundas did make a good point about the need for a really thorough look to be had at all of our gaming legislation. I think that point was well made. But in terms of this bill, the opposition, as I said, are opposing it. I think that we are opposing it for very good reasons and I think that a vast majority of people in the community would support that view, especially given the letters of satisfaction which I have read out from users of a very similar type of facility.


(11.40), in reply: I thank members for their contribution. I will respond first to Mr Stefaniak. It was interesting that he read out letters as the method of supporting the Liberal Party's position. We could all read out letters at any point of any debate to support our position. I do not have a problem with that if there is actually evidence or substance in the letters. People are entitled to have their own views, of course. I noticed that most of the letters came from people with a vested interest. I am very interested to know what evidence those people have for the reassurances that they are giving Mr Stefaniak there.

People who are now operating swimming pools or other sports facilities with poker machines co-located are telling the Legislative Assembly not to worry as everything is fine and Mr Stefaniak accepts that absolutely. It seems that the Labor Party does, too. I do not know why we have a Gambling and Racing Commission. We probably do not need one. We could just ask people who have poker machines close by or on premises and they will tell us whether everything is okay or not and that would be fine.

I do not think that that really would be the way to be dealing with this issue. I did think this Assembly agreed that we need a Gambling and Racing Commission to do some analysis of the potential impacts of poker machines. In fact, government has put rather a lot of money into a gambling research centre as well. From memory,

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