Page 3592 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015

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I note that the ACT government signed an MOU with ClubsACT in 2012. That MOU notes the possible establishment of a Canberra centenary community fund modelled on the Victorian community support fund. So there is clearly a level of recognition that this could be a good idea and a way of further distributing some of those funds and widening the community benefit that is derived from gaming machine revenue.

I have also recommended that the government increase the problem gambling assistance fund levy from 0.6 per cent to one per cent. The committee recommended that the government match the club sector levy paid to the problem gambling assistance fund dollar for dollar. I disagree with this. I do not believe that the broader pool of ACT taxpayers should be asked to fund the issue of problem gambling; I think it should be derived from poker machine revenue. There is certainly scope to increase the amount of funds available—I agree with my colleagues on the committee about that—but I think it should come directly from the poker machine revenue.

I have proposed the introduction of a $1 maximum bet limit and a maximum loss rate of $120 per hour on all class C EGMs. The committee has asked the ACT government to work with the national government on that. I agree that that process should go on, but there is nothing to stop the ACT moving in advance of that national process to have the best possible standards here in the ACT.

The committee heard that about 40 per cent of revenue out of poker machines comes from problem gamblers and that in the order of 88 to 90 per cent of gamblers do not spend more than $1 per spin. If the machines were calibrated to a maximum of a $1 bet per spin, that would make a significant difference for problem gambling. This is an important point, because again this will not impact on the recreational gamblers; this is about targeting people who need our assistance as a community.

I have made some comments on ticket in, ticket out issues. Again I have proposed to lower the limit there to $250. This is about helping people walk away and interrupt the flow of constant gambling. There are further details there.

I have made a number of other comments. The one area I would particularly like to focus on is the issue of entertainment precincts. The issue of noise came up, and I think the committee dealt with this very well: there are some good recommendations in order to protect the options for live music entertainment here in the ACT, which faces increasing problems as the community gets denser.

I thank my colleagues on the committee.

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (11.06): I too thank the chair and my colleagues on the committee, Mr Smyth, Ms Lawder, Ms Porter and Mr Rattenbury, for this very wide-ranging inquiry and the tabling ultimately of this report today. I also reiterate my thanks to the committee staff for a very long process but it was a worthy process and one which did really go to a very wide range of issues, as both Mr Smyth and Mr Rattenbury have noted.

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