Page 2105 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 June 2015
be 5,024 machines in the market, but there will be more than 5,700 authorisations so we can start the trading scheme. This is great. This is really good stuff. This is red tape reduction. This is the market at its best. This is what you get from a minister who is not across her brief. It is complex, it is convoluted and it does not offer certainty.
Then we have the taxation. What the minister rightly should have brought forward today are the tax changes. You are going to change a couple of tax rates—smaller clubs will be better off, a couple of big groups will be a bit worse off, but that is the nature of tax and tax changes. But in an insult to the public accounts committee—that is all it can be—we are going to rush through a whole lot of changes which are subject to an inquiry. It is preposterous that whenever the committee reports they may report that this is all wrong and that the feedback they have had is it is not working, or whatever. I suspect the scheme will not be working when the committee reports. The committee will be denied the opportunity, as the clubs and the community will be, to have a real argument about how this should work and how we could make it work.
We have more red tape. For some clubs we have more taxes. We have a system that increases the number of authorisations. What are we doing here? What we are not doing is giving the clubs what they want, which is some certainty. That is at the heart of it. This is a two-phase scheme. In the first phase, if you sell four machines you get paid for four machines but the buyer only gets three machines. That is so the government can get some machines off the floor and say, “Look, we’ve addressed problem gambling. We’ve have dropped the number of machines.”
What is the target? It is now 15 per 1,000 adults in the ACT. I asked how we got to that number and in the briefing we were told it is below the level of New South Wales. That is the degree of analysis this government has done. I think the officials realised what they had said so they then offered to take it on notice. What they told us in the response was that the government undertook extensive analysis as part of setting the ratio. The extensive analysis covers about half a page. Basically what it says is exactly what the official said. We picked a number that is lower than New South Wales without any basis in fact on how you address problem gambling. There is no basis in fact in here. It is based on 2009-10 data, the latest data available at the time. This is based on data that is more than five years old.
The data showed the ACT had the highest number of gaming machines per adult of all states. However, expenditure going through the gaming machines was the lowest of all states and well below the national average. If we have a low average on their usage, is that not a good thing? The data showed only three clubs exceeded the national average. At the end of the day, what came out was simply that there is no basis in fact to the number 15. The magic number 15 is good because it is less than New South Wales.
There was no analysis of the condition, no analysis of the market, no social impact analysis to back it up and no analysis of the travel patterns of people and how they travel. Indeed, I asked about travel patterns, and the latest study on travel patterns is from 2004. Fancy that. We are relying on old data because this government have not done their job and have not done the work. They are punitive about what they do. They punished the clubs, aided and abetted by the Greens, by saying, “You must give more money to problem gambling because this government do not.” They take their