Page 5522 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2011

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Limiting the cash amount that can be withdrawn during a 24-hour period within a gaming venue can help minimise harm by providing problem gamblers added opportunity to reflect on their gambling expenditure. This measure is broadly consistent with measures to combat problem gambling undertaken by other Australian jurisdictions. The government expects that this will have minimal, if any, effect on recreational gamblers and non-gambling patrons of venues.

In conclusion, this bill will give clubs the ability to transfer machines between venues and create a source of gaming machines for greenfield venues, and these important reforms will be achieved within an overarching policy setting that enshrines into legislation a reduction in the number of gaming machines operating in the territory over time. It will also contribute to the government’s continued efforts to combat problem gambling through the introduction of ATM withdrawal limits. I commend the Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2011 to the Assembly.

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

Public Accounts—Standing Committee


MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.48): I move:

That the Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2011 be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for inquiry and report.

I have not had time to read this bill, but I understand it is the intention of the government to bring it on in the December sitting. We only have a two-week gap before that occurs. This is a very important bill about the future of the club industry in the ACT. I know some of these matters have been around for a long time. The transfer scheme has been in the offing for something like five years. The minister can answer why that has taken so long, but I think the undue haste with which this is tabled today and the fact that it is expected that we pass it in the next sitting week does not give the industry that is so important to the ACT the time it needs to read this bill, digest this bill and convene the various board meetings they might need to convene to come to a position on it. If we are serious about reforming poker machines in the ACT and getting it right, we need to do this properly. It would be appropriate to send it off to the committee.

I had a briefing on this yesterday. In fact, I had a briefing on the bill, but I was not allowed to see the bill. I think it is the first time in this place that I have been offered a briefing and then not been allowed to see the bill. Again, that approach concerns me. The three areas that are current are the cap, the transfer scheme and the limit on ATM withdrawals, They are important issues. We need to get this right. There are some enormous implications, from my understanding of what I was told—again, I repeat, I was not given an opportunity to see the bill and I have not had a chance to read it today.

One of the implications may mean that no new club—not a new site for an existing club—can get poker machines. If people in northern Gungahlin wanted a club and

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