Page 3348 - Week 08 - Thursday, 23 August 2012

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Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2011

Debate resumed.

Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Women and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (11.00), by leave: I move amendments Nos 1 to 64 circulated in my name together and table a supplementary explanatory statement to the amendments [see schedule 1 at page 3518].

The amendments I have moved to the Gaming Machine Amendment Bill presented to the Assembly by my colleague Mr Barr in November of last year address issues raised during the Standing Committee on Public Accounts inquiry into the bill and other issues raised during further consultation since the bill’s introduction. I wish to place on record my appreciation for the work of committee members and also the approach taken by ACT clubs in working with the government and highlighting areas for improvement.

While these amendments are extensive, their purpose is to improve rather than significantly change the intent of the original bill; that is, to give practical effect to the commitment of the government to reduce harm associated with problem gambling while also providing greater flexibility to clubs to effectively conduct their business. Importantly, this new regulatory framework will also assist the establishment of new club venues, particularly in greenfield areas.

With these goals in mind, I now turn to the more significant specific amendments that I have moved today. Amendments 12, 13, 15 and 20 collectively establish new mechanisms to allow club groups to relocate machines between venues through amending their licences. A distinction is introduced between “large-scale” and “small-scale” relocation proposals. Small-scale proposals are where no more than 10 machines, or 10 per cent of a receiving venue’s existing number of machines—whichever is the lower—are to be moved between venues in a club group.

Large-scale proposals will continue to be subject to the regulatory oversight outlined in last year’s bill. However, small-scale relocations will be subject to different regulatory arrangements. The commission may or may not require a social impact assessment or social impact statement to be provided if it has concerns that significant social impacts may arise were the proposal to be acted upon. The social impact statement is a new regulatory device introduced by the amendments and is an abridged form of a social impact assessment. Amendment 59, relating to the Gaming Machine Regulation, sets out the requirements for social impact statements, the matters they must address and the information that they contain.

The commission will prepare a guidance document on small-scale relocations that will clarify the circumstances where a social impact assessment or statement may be required. And to clarify a point raised during the public accounts committee inquiry, I can confirm that licensees whose applications to transfer machines are not approved

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