Page 3701 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 28 October 2015
As Minister Burch noted, the ANU Centre for Gambling Research has previously advised us that lottery products are at the lower end of the risk spectrum for problem gambling, but I agree with the minister that a harm minimisation approach that says that lottery products are not available 24/7 is a reasonable step to take.
In the broader picture, in my opinion the Coles-Woolies duopoly presents a very real problem for Australia. That level of market concentration will never be good for the community. Over the past years and decades we have seen both Coles and Woolworths price local businesses out of existence, using their duopoly power to hoover up a vast market share. To that extent I agree with Mr Wall’s amendment bill, in that I do not want to see Coles and Woolworths further siphon off more local business and send more local businesses to the wall.
We have heard today from Minister Burch that the bill in its current form would have some unintended consequences. We have heard that for such an amendment bill to effectively fulfil its policy intention we would also have to amend the Pool Betting Act 1964.
I am sympathetic to and supportive of the intention of Mr Wall’s bill, but I do accept the need for further work to be done, and the bill in its current form perhaps does not do what it intends to do.
Minister Burch has also advised that she has reached an agreement with the Tatts group that they will not move to sell lottery products in full-line supermarkets before 2018. While this is welcome breathing space, I would prefer to see a longer term solution to keeping gambling products out of supermarkets. Aside from the small business elements of this discussion, I also hold the view that we simply do not need more places where gambling is being promoted. I do believe it is appropriate to provide some limits on this, and supermarkets and petrol stations do not need to become more places in our society where we are being urged to gamble.
So while I agree with Mr Wall’s intent and objective, and seek to support his bill, there is still some work to do on it. There will be a move to adjourn this bill shortly, and I will be happy to work with Mr Wall to get to a stage where we can get a bill that we can pass in this place, to provide some limitation on where lottery products can be sold in the ACT and to provide some bulwark against the further expansion of the Coles and Woolworths duopoly and some protection for small business in the ACT.
Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.
MR WALL (Brindabella): I seek leave to make a very brief statement under standing order 46.
MADAM SPEAKER: Do you claim to have been misrepresented?
MR WALL: I do, Madam Speaker.