Page 3697 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 28 October 2015
ultimately leave a great question mark over the viability of many small businesses operating in this space, primarily local newsagents. I think Canberrans have a great affinity with their local newsagents. My colleague Brendan Smyth grew up working around them. I think it is important that we preserve what is great about our local shopping centres.
Coming up today there is an opportunity to pass this bill. I understand that there are some concerns, but I also hope that we can work through these and come up with a compromise that addresses the expectations of the community, recognises the investment of these local small business owners and also delivers a great result. I thank members for the opportunity to speak briefly.
Lotteries Amendment Bill 2015
Debate resumed from16 September 2015, on motion by Mr Wall:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (10.05): I thank Mr Wall for bringing this matter to the Assembly. However, while I appreciate his intent, the government cannot support the Lotteries Amendment Bill 2015 in its current form. The government understands the concerns of our local newsagents about the potential impact on their businesses if lottery products are available in other outlets, particularly supermarkets. I recognise that representatives of the newsagents group are here this morning.
It is clear that as newspaper sales have declined, some agencies may have become increasingly reliant on revenue from sales of lottery tickets and scratchies. The Tatts announcement in August this year that it planned to expand sales of NSW Lotteries products into a small number of service stations in the ACT came without consultation or notice, and I have made my thoughts about that well known to the company.
Unfortunately, this bill in its present state will not achieve the outcome that it seeks. It will open up a range of unintended consequences, including providing a perverse disincentive for small businesses to grow. The advice I have is that this bill requires significant amendment, not just in its amendments to the Lotteries Act but to other existing laws.
For a start, large public lotteries such as OzLotto and Powerball are regulated by both the Lotteries Act 1964 and the Pool Betting Act 1964. The existing approval for the sale of Tatts products in the ACT was issued under both acts. As Mr Wall’s bill seeks to amend only the Lotteries Act, it will be ineffective and will lead to confusion. Therefore matching amendments are also needed to the Pool Betting Act.
I mentioned unintended consequences. One of these is the restriction excluding “non-retail businesses from entering into an agreement with a lottery operator to sell, pay prizes and promote”. I know that this is not Mr Wall’s intention but, as drafted, this restriction will also apply to other minor gaming activities regulated under the