Page 2538 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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A major focus of the commission’s work this year will be to implement the gaming machine trading scheme, which is scheduled to begin later this month. This is a major piece of work from the economic development directorate officials and the commissioner, and I thank them for their efforts to bring this into being. In addition to the work of the commission, the government provides annual rolling grant funding to the local racing industries and has a provision for $42 million in grants over the five years through to 2018-19. While not formally linked to the annual rolling grant funding provided to the industry, the four-year MOU between the government and the racing codes outlines the shared medium to longer term policy objectives.

This government is committed to supporting our local community clubs, and we have seen that by the efforts and the partnerships through the MOU that were signed a number of years ago and our continued commitment to giving them certainty. That is why the government has introduced the gaming machine trading scheme that, as I have said, will come into effect later this year.

As Mr Smyth pointed out, there are no recommendations on this line in the estimates report, but one area I would like to draw members’ attention to is paragraph 5.316 concerning problem gambling and online gaming. I advised the committee that I have written to federal counterparts—that is, members of the Tony Abbott Liberal government—to raise the issue of the increasing problems with online gaming. That is a problem that sits with the federal sphere.

I also advised the estimates committee that the current commonwealth government has moved away from the recommendations of the previous review in 2012 and has established a national working group. But this working group has no state or territory representatives or officials. There has been no correspondence to my office. There has been no activity or interest to address the increasing and growing concern of online gaming. I will continue to follow that up with my federal counterparts because it is a very serious issue concerning communities across Australia.

I am pleased those opposite will support this line. Even though Mr Hanson in his opening salvo said he would not be supporting this budget, it seems the line on the Gambling and Racing Commission is, indeed, supported by those opposite.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.39): Given that the minister brought me into the debate, I will take the opportunity. Those opposite speak with great interest and try to be measured in their comments and speak seriously, of course, about this issue. But there is a stench surrounding the issue where the Labor Party shovels hundreds of thousands of dollars into their coffers. Ms  Burch’s political campaign is funded on the proceeds of pokies, not only from the Labor Party but from the CFMEU. You have a minister and a Chief Minister who have this faux concern about problem gambling. They are distraught about problem gambling and talk about the pokies and gaming, but we know that at the same time they are getting hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. In fact, I think this year it was it $1.5 million. The Labor club went into debt so it could shovel more money into the coffers of the Labor Party to run their political campaigns so they can then become the minister to regulate the very industry they are benefiting from.

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