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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 August 2015) . . Page.. 2536 ..

MR BARR: Mr Hanson equals a government like Prime Minister Abbott. Mr Smyth equals a Treasurer like Treasurer Hockey. If you want that, Madam Speaker, you can vote for it, and you will have that opportunity next year.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

ACT Gambling and Racing Commission—schedule 1, part 1.2.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.29): There was a large amount of discussion during the estimates about the Gambling and Racing Commission. As members would be aware, particularly in recent times, a number of things have happened—the live baiting scandal in greyhound racing that swept the east coast, the acquisition of the casino by Aquis, the sale of ACTTAB, the co-location of the racing codes, how we address problem gambling and reforms to the Gaming Machine Amendment Act.

The estimates committee did not make any recommendations in this area, but the issues are ongoing. In the context of the public accounts committee inquiry into the future of the gaming industry in the ACT, particularly the clubs, there are still things that need to be done. It is my view and the view of the opposition that this government does not do enough to address problem gaming in the ACT—it is either a federal issue which they fob off or they say it is up to the clubs. They actively blame the clubs instead of saying, “We get a lot of money. We get tens of millions of dollars every year from poker machines.” The spend over the last couple of years by the government on addressing problem gambling has been very, very small—less than half a million dollars—when they collect more than $30 million from the gaming tax. That is to their shame.

We need a government that do what they are meant to do. We often collect taxes to ameliorate the impact of something that is legal in the territory. For instance, part of the money from registration goes to road safety because we know that, whilst driving a car is a good thing, driving a car poorly or badly is a bad thing because of the consequences it may cause. The same with gaming machines: most people use gaming machines as fun and they gamble within their limits. But there is a group that, for whatever reason, are unable to control their spending through the poker machines.

What you do not see from this government is a genuine commitment to ending problem gaming. In the next couple of months we will see the next report on the amount of gaming that goes on in the ACT and how many problem gamblers we have. It will be interesting to see whether over the years there is a trend and whether it is going down. For all the awareness we have got, you have to question the effectiveness of what the government does. We will see whether what is happening has been enough. It is the government that is in the position to do this and lead this, and it is the government that fails on this.

We heard during estimates about live baiting in greyhound racing. I think we all keep a watching brief on that issue. There have been no reports of live baiting in the ACT. We asked whether or not the commission had met with the RSPCA and ACT greyhounds and support network. The commissioner and chief executive confirmed

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