Page 202 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 15 February 2012

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number of reforms aimed at reducing the impact of problem gambling in the community. As part of these reforms, existing pooling arrangements that allow unallocated machines to be available for distribution to clubs will be removed. It will be replaced by a scheme that provides more flexibility for existing clubs to move machines between venues, and this will ensure that the number of machines in the territory contracts towards the target of 4,000 machines.

MR DOSZPOT: Now for the unscripted question, minister. Minister, how would such a club develop a suitable business case for a new club building if the reduced cap on gaming machines is implemented?

MS BURCH: I have just explained that. The new proposal is around being able to transfer and allow flexibility of movement of machines between venues. As members will be aware, the bill is currently before the Assembly public accounts committee for consideration. So I will take careful note of the recent hearings of the committee and the evidence provided, and the government will carefully consider the recommendations of that inquiry. I do not propose to anticipate any recommendations yet.

Gaming machines—pre-commitment technology

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is: what discussions has the ACT government had with the commonwealth government about the trial of mandatory pre-commitment technology on poker machines in the territory?

MS BURCH: There have been a number of discussions between ACT and commonwealth government officials in recent weeks, and I have recently met with Minister Macklin to discuss aspects of the proposed trial and the ACT involvement. The government and officials have consistently conveyed the view that we welcome a pre-commitment trial in the ACT, provided agreement can be reached with the ACT clubs about how that trial could be operated.

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, what additional or alternative harm minimisation measures has the government considered or evaluated, and particularly has any work been done on the effectiveness of the $1 maximum bet value in the ACT?

MS BURCH: The ACT government has developed a number of reforms that help to tackle the issue of problem gambling. The problem gambling assistance fund, which commenced in July of last year under the Gaming Machine Act, provides for around $1 million per year to assist with problem gambling. This support will be operated through Mission Australia, and some of those support services include provision of gambling and financial counselling, linkages to other counselling or support services and self-help techniques to assist people control their gambling activity.

Ms Le Couteur: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, I simply asked about the $1 maximum bet, and the minister has not yet touched on that.

MR SPEAKER: Minister, if you could answer Ms Le Couteur’s question.

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