Page 4572 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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create any potential for a conflict of rights between a mother and her foetus. The bill does not affect the current law with respect to abortions. The bill creates an appropriate regime for the sanction of offenders who commit acts of violence towards pregnant women. I commend the bill and the explanatory statement.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned to the next sitting.

Casino Control Bill 2005

Mr Quinlan, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (10.48): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

On 15 March 2005, the government tabled the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission’s Review of the Casino Control Act 1988 and at the same time presented the government’s response to the commission’s review recommendations. Members may recall that the government agreed to all the commission’s recommendations, except one that was noted.

The Casino Control Bill 2005 that I am presenting today replaces the Casino Control Act 1988 and incorporates the government’s responses to the commission’s recommendations. Additionally, the opportunity has been taken to fully rewrite the legislation to provide other drafting and technical amendments to ensure that the ACT’s casino control legislation is up to date and relevant.

The commission’s review of the act included a wide range of recommendations to enhance the regulation and operation of the casino in the ACT. Many of the changes will result in improvements in efficiencies for both the casino licensee and the commission while maintaining a properly regulated casino. The major reforms include improvements and efficiency gains in the administration of a number of operational matters.

The bill will streamline the approval process for gaming equipment and the clarification of approval requirements and also streamline the approval of the layout of the casino while making the parameters to be considered explicit and clearer. Approval of the casino’s operating procedures and systems control will be more flexible and simpler, while maintaining appropriate regulatory oversight. The casino’s operating hours will be more flexibly controlled by the casino licensee within certain restrictions specified in the legislation. Casino tax rates will be simplified by eliminating the cumbersome GST credit scheme. This means that ACT casino tax rates will be levied on the same basis as in other states and as recently introduced for gaming machine licensees—that is, the clubs—where the GST credit is no longer provided. These new tax rates will be revenue neutral to the ACT—and therefore to the casino.

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