Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 November 2017) . . Page.. 4832 ..
any technological changes to electronic gaming machines at least for the term of this government? There are less than three years left. We have heard the long list of the wreckage in this sector; we have heard the long list of club closures and mergers. It is very clear that these not-for-profit community organisations are in some instances under severe stress. Can we just press pause and allow our clubs to serve their communities in the way that they have been doing for years? That is pretty much the gist of it.
MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (3.51): The government will not be supporting the motion, although there are some matters raised by Mr Parton in his speech which I will refer to and which we are happy to note and to appreciate as well.
It is important for the Assembly to know that Mr Parton is operating on not only out-of-date and inaccurate information but, in a sense, with his head in the sand. It seems that now his self-appointed role is as shadow minister for poker machines, and that has become of concern to me. One of the few things that he and I do agree on in this motion is that the clubs have a significant place in the ACT community. Clubs support several hundred community groups and provide places for social and recreational activity. That is something on which I and the government congratulate them and thank them for.
I acknowledge their contribution and I also agree that we are living in a world where there are a number of significant changes, the most important of which are the market force changes in a changing economy. I note that the clubs are the first to admit that demographic changes mean that club patronage is declining. That is one of the reasons why the government is assisting them to diversify their business and to move away from a reliance on electronic gaming machines.
As has also been noted in this space, I have worked closely with ministers from other states and the territory, and the federal government, to address the growing pressure of online gambling. But a motion in this place deserves to be based on official and accurate data, and I refer Mr Parton to the official data on community contributions that is self-reported by the clubs and is published annually by the Gambling and Racing Commission.
The commission’s 2015-16 report on gaming machines licensees’ community contributions found that clubs in the ACT made financial contributions of close to $11,736,000. Of this, $8,753,000 was monetary and $2,983,000 was in kind. The vast majority of community contributions—just under $6,610,000—goes to support sport and recreation; although I do note, disappointingly, that, of this, only around $350,000 goes to women’s sport.
It should not be up to a member to correct the inaccuracies of another, but it is important for this discussion to be based on facts and not on misunderstanding. I note that the 2016 committee recommendations that the motion refers to are in fact from a public accounts committee that reported in 2015, and the matters that Mr Parton raises were addressed in the corresponding government response, also delivered in 2015.