Page 5371 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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A number of the amendments are made to the Casino Control Act 2006. The amended act will require control procedures to include details about the level of supervision that is appropriate and reasonable for a casino employee and a job description of licensed staff. It will allow the commission the option of additional time beyond the existing period of one week to consider changes to procedures before they become operational and it will make it clear that games can be conducted in accordance with proved rules. It will prevent employees from accepting gratuities and it will allow patrons to buy food and drink using EFTPOS but preserve the prohibition on cash withdrawals.

Amendments to the Gaming Machine Act will remove the need for clubs with annual gaming machine revenues of less than $200,000 to have their financial accounts audited. Certified accounts will need to be submitted to the commission. They will also require the report to include the number of members by class at the end of each financial year.

The amendment to the Gaming Machine Regulations 2004 is designed to make the voting process more transparent. It introduces two new sections enabling the commission to appoint someone other than the club secretary to conduct the voting functions and also for the commission to have the power to supervise those functions.

There is also a change to allow clubs to recommend to members how to vote. While this particular issue is not contentious, I do draw members’ attention to the fact that the club industry was unaware of these regulations and these changes until they were brought to their attention by the opposition. That highlights again a poor process of consultation in relation to this.

The club industry, as it turns out, do not have a problem with these, but it was fairly late in the piece when we went to them and asked, “What do you think?” They said, “What are you talking about? We do not know what you are talking about.” Again, this is possibly one of the problems with slab bills like this. The responsibility for carriage goes with the Attorney-General but the subject matter underneath that is often the responsibility of other ministers. There needs to be some communication to ensure that agencies do communicate with affected people.

Schedule 2 provides for structural amendments to the Legislation Act initiated by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The amendments in this bill are to add a new definition of bankrupt or personally insolvent, to add a new definition of home address and to amend the definition of gazette to allow for internet publishing. The advantage of making new amendments to the Legislation Act is that they can be held in one piece of legislation with relevant other legislation simply pointing to it rather than duplicating it. Nearly 80 acts are amended under schedule 3 as a consequence.

Other amendments in schedule 3 provide for minor and technical amendments to a range of acts and regulations initiated by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. Schedule 4 repeals two now redundant acts, the Financial Relations Agreement Act 2000 and the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement Act 2007.

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