Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 23 August 2018) . . Page.. 3528 ..
Yes, you are probably going to have a win today in that the moderates in your party will be crushed, absolutely crushed. But for those of us who have to get on with governing in the Australian Capital Territory, we need to be able to work with a functional Australian government, and we do not have that today. So we will not be lectured by Mrs Dunne on how to run executive government.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
ACT Gambling and Racing Commission—Part 1.17
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (11.58): We have spoken a lot about gaming and racing policy in the JACS directorate line in this debate, and I do not wish to bore the Assembly by talking any more in this space. As much as I know Mr Ramsay enjoys my speeches on this subject, we have nothing further to add than what was stated in the debate on the JACS directorate earlier.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.58): I will make a few brief remarks on the section of the budget related to the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission. The Greens believe that people who choose to gamble are entitled to an environment that minimises their risk of developing gambling problems. We know that gambling can have serious social and economic impacts that affect individuals, families and communities, which is why it is so important that our regulator is empowered to prioritise harm minimisation and enforce sanctions where breaches are identified.
I was pleased to see that harm prevention is listed as a priority for the commission in this year’s budget papers in line with the broader announcements we have seen in recent days. The budget papers highlight the findings from a recent study from the ANU Centre for Gambling Research which found that while there are harmful impacts from high intensity gambling, or what some people might refer to as problem gambling, the bulk of gambling harm is experienced by a larger group of Canberrans who experience moderate to low levels of harm.
The budget papers also cite a 2014 survey which found that over 15 per cent of adults in Canberra had a close family member who had experienced gambling harm in their lifetime—that is one in six or one in seven Canberrans—with 6.1 per cent saying that this had been in the previous 12 months—so one in 16 people. Of these, 38.8 per cent of family members said the issue had affected their family and relationship, their mental health and/or their financial security. This is why we cannot dismiss gambling harm as a small or insignificant problem or rely only on the numbers of so-called problem gamblers to inform our response.
I am pleased to see the commission and the government adopting a public health approach to this issue. Looking beyond the immediate impacts on the gambler and considering the wider flow-on effects. While the priorities and the strategic objectives of the commission seem to align with the evidence and the government’s commitment to reducing gambling harm, the actions we saw recently in the case of Professor Laurie Brown did not align with this approach. While education and engagement with gaming venues is an important part of the regulator’s role, there is equally a need for