Page 3594 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015
community and also recognise that there is a very broad range of clubs, from very small clubs who may only open, to my surprise, up to six to nine hours a week, to much larger clubs that employ hundreds of people and have thousands of people through their doors every day. Each of them, and clubs collectively, makes a significant social and economic contribution to the ACT.
I thought and reflected on my own use of clubs, which particularly has come through having small children and having somewhere to be able to go, frankly, where we can enjoy a meal and they can go off and play in the kids room. Those people that either do not have or are past having small children will reflect on the importance of having a club where you can go to where you can enjoy a meal out or where you can meet other friends with small children and have the kids happily playing off in an area where, we are always reminded, we need to supervise the activities of our kids.
Throughout the course of my weekly life I know that sporting clubs meet in community clubs. My own school P&C occasionally meets in a sporting club. Certainly I know political parties meet in clubs. There are so many different activities that are taking place every day across the community where clubs really provide an opportunity to meet and congregate.
We certainly heard from a number of community organisations throughout the course of the inquiry—literally dozens and dozens of submissions. But in particular some of the ones that particularly struck me were the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and their evidence to the inquiry; the Tuggeranong Vikings Women’s Hockey Club; the Belconnen Tennis Club; and the Burlesque club also made an effective presentation to the committee. The contributions in the scheme of so many of the issues that we talk about in this place sometimes can go into the billions of dollars.
What a lot of these clubs were talking to us about was the real importance of the $5,000 and $10,000 that they receive each year from community clubs and how much that matters to their own operations. They deliver a big bang for their buck. Particularly on this issue, at a very simple level it is clear that a proportion of poker machine revenue is then provided back in the form of community contributions to these organisations.
A number of people more broadly in the community made the case to the inquiry that it somehow diminishes this contribution. I share some level of personal unease at this. However, when it was put to a number of these community organisations that came to the inquiry whether they shared that view, they said they did not and they outright, in a couple of cases, refuted that notion.
What this said to me, throughout the course of the inquiry, was that we need to understand more, as both Mr Smyth and Mr Rattenbury have said, about the impact of problem gambling on our community. We need to know more about who gambles, why they gamble and the issues of stigma surrounding people with a gambling problem. We need to know what programs work and what programs do not work.
Gambling is not something that I personally do but it is an activity that people legitimately undertake in our community in many forms every day. Certainly many