Page 3080 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 22 August 2017

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If you are specifically looking at things that make a mockery of the bill, you must only go to the Tradies club in Dickson or to the casino—and I know that the casino has been used in the arguments about gambling venues. At both of those venues we have fully functioning ATMs operating for all intents and purposes within the gaming venue, bypassing the ATM restriction regulations. I understand that the ATM in the foyer of the casino is technically located at the Crowne Plaza and that the ATM at the Quality Inn at Dickson is technically outside the Tradies club, but I do not think that any of those technicalities passes the pub test or, in this instance, the club test.

Both of those ATMs, located only several metres away from two of the biggest gambling houses in our city, also allow withdrawal from credit card accounts. Strangely, the machine at the Quality Inn also dispenses money only in $20 bills, which is a bit of a surprise. The whole background of this amendment bill was the suggestion that some clubs were utilising loopholes to get around the original ATM legislation, and I think we have got two clear examples of venues utilising a different loophole to get around the law. But we all know that ACT Labor and the Greens will just look the other way and pretend that that one is not happening. I think we all know why. Having said all that, we support this bill as far as the cash facilities measures go.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.56): I rise today to give the Greens’ support to the Gaming Machine (Cash Facilities) Amendment Bill 2017 and highlight why restricting access to cash is such an important element of the territory’s gambling harm minimisation efforts. The changes in this bill do not completely close the loophole identified in my motion earlier this year, which was further confirmed through the recent Access Canberra audit. However, while the Greens would have preferred to see a daily EFTPOS cash withdrawal limit, as exists for ATMs, I recognise that current technology makes this very difficult to enforce. While the bill before us does not represent a perfect solution, it is an improvement on the current regulations and it will go some way to restricting access to cash for people at risk of problem gambling.

As we spoke about earlier this year, it is clear that the original intent of the withdrawal limits applied to ATMs in the Gaming Machine Act was to minimise harm for addicted gamblers by reducing access to cash. The omission of a similar limit on EFTPOS facilities created a significant loophole which was identified back in 2015 but was never properly addressed. When this issue was originally raised as a concern, the government worked with ClubsACT to establish a voluntary code of practice, with guidelines for ensuring that the spirit of the legislation was not being undermined. The code of practice was provided to all ClubsACT members who held gaming machine licences and was supposedly monitored by the Gambling and Racing Commission and subsequently Access Canberra.

Earlier this year, having heard how a number of members of our community were experiencing significant gambling harm, I brought a motion to this place calling for this loophole to be closed. To add to the evidence we had heard through personal stories, the minister then released a compliance report from Access Canberra looking

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