Page 1666 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2017

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

reinforcement even though they are actually losing money. Brain imaging has shown that the pattern of dopamine release that occurs during a gambling session is strikingly similar to that of cocaine and other addictions. That is why public health experts have long been calling for gambling to be recognised as an addiction and treated as a health issue. Given what we know about the addictive properties of poker machines it is simply irresponsible to suggest that this comes down to an issue of personal responsibility.

Research has shown that problem gamblers are less likely to impose limits on themselves and will have trouble stopping gambling when they reach a self-imposed limit. Where gamblers have used pre-commitment systems, the evidence shows that they do reduce how much each person spends. But it must be a full, mandatory system in order to maximise its effectiveness. What we are calling for is an evidence-based approach that provides adequate protection for those people who find poker machines addictive, without placing unreasonable restrictions on other players.

We also want to support clubs to diversify their business models and move away from an unethical and unsustainable reliance on revenue from poker machines. At the election the Greens put forward a transition plan which would reduce the financial burden on clubs by rewarding those venues with better harm minimisation measures, subsidising water use for community purposes and introducing risk-based liquor licensing fees.

We agree with ClubsACT that harm minimisation measures should be applied equally across clubs and the casino and that is why we are calling for this restriction on EFTPOS withdrawals, because the casino already has a similar provision. The casino legislation has this provision but still allows for the use of an EFTPOS debit facility to be used for food or beverage payments. That is exactly what we are calling for here and there is no reason this should be a barrier to clubs making money off activities other than problem gambling.

It is great to see that, with sustained pressure from the Greens and brave public advocacy from community members like Laurie and Kate whom we also recently heard speak on the ABC, ClubsACT has now realised that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. It has been suggested that clubs are now talking about self-imposed EFTPOS limits, which is encouraging. This motion calls on the government to investigate how best to close this loophole and there is no reason the clubs cannot be part of that conversation.

However, as I understand it, the current proposal from ClubsACT would impose a $250 limit on cash out per transaction, which is simply not good enough. This approach would retain the current loophole because gamblers would still be able to make multiple transactions. The $250 ATM limit applies per card per 24-hour period and the Greens believe the same limit should apply to EFTPOS facilities.

I think it is important to remind the Assembly that this issue is not new. We have known about it for some time. Back in 2015 I made this exact same recommendation for EFTPOS restrictions as part of the public accounts committee inquiry into the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video