Page 46 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 10 February 2015

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Gaming—poker machines

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Racing and Gaming concerning the regulation increasing the note limit for ACT poker machines. Minister, the Legislation Handbook states:

Cabinet approval is generally not required for the drafting of regulations, unless there are sensitive issues, or whole of Government or cross portfolio considerations. Normally the responsible minister gives approval for the drafting of regulations.

Minister, why did you not seek cabinet approval, given the sensitive issues associated with poker machines and the cross-portfolio issues?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Smyth for his question. As has been put on record about this matter and has been discussed across the public domain, cabinet had agreed to a number of reforms across the community club and gaming sectors. The first tranche of those reforms will come to this place next month. The second was to look at, for example, note acceptors—and this in conversations with the clubs—with an eye on having a limit on the amount that can go into a machine in a gaming session.

It has been said that I got the timing wrong. I put one regulation out without that being partnered with the input limit regulation. We have pulled it back, as the Chief Minister has said. There will be a process. He has foreshadowed a motion in this place on Thursday where we will seek to establish a select committee to go through these matters.

In terms of my signing off on the instructions for the regulation, it was to proceed with that first regulation and to provide advice and draft the second regulation. But history shows that we did not get to that second regulation, and there is now a process in place that will see the end of this discussion.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, did you give approval for the drafting of the regulation increasing the note limit for poker machines and did you advise your cabinet colleagues that you were doing so?

MS BURCH: A minister has to give authority to progress the drafting of a regulation, and that is what I have done. Also, the intention was to have that in tandem with the second regulation, which would have been an input limit. But that was not progressed.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, when was approval given to the drafting of this regulation, and what action did you take to ensure that it was consistent with cabinet decisions?

MS BURCH: I cannot remember the date, but it was towards the latter part of the year. I was keen to progress as much work as we could. I get to that point at the end of the year where I want to progress any outstanding matters that are available to be progressed, and that is what I did.

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