Page 3829 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013
and ClubsACT. What are the main provisions of the MOU and what is the progress that has been made in implementing it over the last year?
MS BURCH: I thank Mr Gentleman for his interest. You are indeed right, Mr Gentleman, that we signed an MOU with ClubsACT in September last year. That sets out the policy and reform agenda for the licensed club sector for the next four years.
The MOU contains 23 commitments. These commitments have been divided into five sections. The first is around regulatory reform. A key commitment includes an agreement by the government to conduct a broader review of the current regulatory regime faced by the club sector and identify areas of reform. I am pleased that much of this work is well underway. Certainly the ClubsACT representation on the government’s red tape reduction panel has a significant input into that.
The second part is around gaming reform. A key commitment includes the in-principle agreement by government to the introduction of a scheme that allows transfers of electronic gaming machines between clubs. The scheme must be transparent, fair and open to all clubs in the ACT; consider the social impacts; not increase the incidence of problem gambling or concentration of gaming machines in particular locations; and help meet other government objectives, such as ensuring that community contributions are maintained and assisting in working towards the achievement of a cap reduction target in the ACT. Following the government’s release of a discussion paper in July, there has been good feedback from stakeholders on how the scheme would operate. I expect to be in a position to announce the outcome of this work in the near future.
Thirdly, a contribution to community has also been part of the MOU. We as a government remain committed to supporting the long-established community-based gaming model here in the ACT.
The fourth part deals with problem gambling and harm minimisation. ClubsACT agreed to adopt an enhanced code of practice to bring the current code into line with best practice. Much of this work is undertaken by the gaming and racing commission, in this respect in consultation with the industry. A new enhanced code of practice is expected to be in place shortly.
Finally, there is reducing clubs’ reliance on gaming machine revenue. In this respect, we continue to work with the industry to explore all opportunities to support the diversification of club income streams.
As minister for gaming and racing, I have committed to meeting with the clubs’ reps on a regular basis to discuss the MOU. I will meet at least twice a year. This will be supported by a written progress report. I have also committed to consult with clubs through these meetings should there be any new legislation such as that tabled this morning.
To mark the first anniversary of the MOU, I wrote to all the clubs earlier this month. I note that ClubsACT welcomed the progress report, was pleased with the progress made across a number of things. Whilst there is still work to do, we know that we on this side of the chamber are working in partnership with ClubsACT.