Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 11 May 2017) . . Page.. 1667 ..
future of clubs in the ACT. I was not supported by the committee or the minister at the time but I hope that will change today.
Gaming ministers have been warned about this issue since the ATM withdrawal limit was imposed in 2014, with warnings coming from the Salvation Army and the Gambling and Racing Commission. In the years since these warnings, nothing has been done, and gamblers like Laurie continue to be at risk of harm. But today’s motion is an opportunity to address this issue and strengthen protections for problem gamblers.
As I have said earlier, this change is not the silver bullet. It does not solve problem gambling in its entirety, since no single measure could do that. The Greens have long been calling for a suite of harm minimisation measures, and these changes are simply part of that approach.
I note the limitations raised by the Chief Minister and Mr Parton about the ability to access cash outside the venue but I remind members that we know that limiting access to cash inside a gaming venue does reduce the amount people spend. The simple act of leaving the venue to go to an ATM can act as a circuit breaker and make someone reconsider whether they want to continue gambling. We should not dismiss these measures as ineffective just because they are not perfect.
I bring this motion to the Assembly today to start a conversation about transparency and harm minimisation so that we can reaffirm our commitment to taking addictive gambling seriously. There is no silver bullet and there are many changes we can and should introduce over time. But there are some simple changes that will help reduce gambling harm in our community today, and we should not hesitate to bring them in.
I hope to have support across the chamber today for these measures which are sensible, practical and will help protect vulnerable members of our community. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (11.21): We have before us a somewhat curious proposition for this Assembly to consider. We have a cabinet minister presenting a motion to bind his own government to principles and measures that could easily have been taken through cabinet. Mr Rattenbury can wave a green flag around as much as he likes but, as a cabinet minister, he is the government. I have to ask whether there is a problem with the government’s decision-making process that compels an executive member to put decisions to the entire Assembly and whether the government is moving to a new motion-based decision model. Or is this is about a Greens MLA appealing to his base and grandstanding rather than genuinely trying to address problems?
Interestingly, though, in private discussions that I have had with Mr Rattenbury, bizarre as it may seem to many, there is much more that we agree on than we disagree on. When we get to the aspects of Mr Rattenbury’s motion whereby he calls upon the government to do what is stated in paragraphs (a) and (b), there is not a great deal of dissent from this side on either of these things.