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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2558 ..



Mr Smyth, I think by way of interjection, said, "What money? What money has the Commonwealth withheld?"It is important to know, I think, and it is important that you should know-

Mr Smyth

: No, it's important for Ms MacDonald to know. You should answer the question.


: We are learning a bit, Mr Smyth-budget appropriation, capital recurrent expenditure. How about the Grants Commission? This could be a useful week for you. Your revenue effort is measured by the Grants Commission and your return, your share, under the horizontal fiscal equalisation formula is, in fact, influenced by your gambling effort-I think they even call it "effort". So I think it is a fact that there is pressure on states and territories to meet the average level of gambling revenue which, let me say, happily the ACT falls well below.

As I have said, I think the amendment foreshadowed by the Leader of the Opposition is pretty much a hollow gesture and, as such, I think rather crass. But it is amazing what freedoms opposition does confer upon you, I suppose.

Questions resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clauses 1 to 13, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clauses 14 to 15, by leave, taken together.


(Leader of the Opposition) (12.18): Mr Speaker, there is no need for me to say any more. We hear the platitudes that we are all against problem gambling, we are all aware of the problem of the addiction of governments to gambling revenue, we have all seen what happens in the other states but we are just not going to do it here. If I remember correctly, the ACT meets only 68 per cent of the norm on gambling set by the Productivity Commission. I think we should be quite proud of that, and I do not think we should be making any progress on meeting the standard that is set by the Productivity Commission.

Perhaps instead we should be asking the Productivity Commission to review what they see as the norm; whether some of the other levels that the Productivity Commission has determined to be acceptable and which are being overachieved by some states ought to be drawn back; and whether a jurisdiction like the ACT should be, in fact, congratulated for not being addicted to gambling revenues in this case.

I think that people should consider this seriously. The Treasurer says it is a hollow gesture. It is not a hollow gesture. The opposition's amendment sends the clear message, "Don't become addicted to gambling revenues."

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