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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 23 August 2018) . . Page.. 3530 ..

I noted the line of questioning by the Liberal Party over the past couple of days where they asked the minister to make various guarantees about who would and would not receive funding. The great why in those questions was the assumption that there is currently a guarantee, but it is entirely discretionary on the part of the clubs as to who they give money to. That is often built on personal relationships, connections, historical trends or whatever the association might be.

It is symptomatic of the way the Liberal Party presents these issues that they assume that there is any guarantee in any of that funding. A change of general manager, a change of whatever—you name it—could see those very same community groups lose their funding one year because of a decision by the club. That sort of distortion by the Liberal Party in this place and a cute attempt to put the Attorney-General in an uncomfortable position reflects more on them than it does on the decisions the attorney is taking. It is simply not an accurate reflection of the reality on the ground.

I also want to briefly speak on the introduction of a point-of-consumption wagering tax in this budget. This tax is already in place in other jurisdictions, most notably South Australia, and it is being introduced right across the country. It is appropriate that gambling taxes are applied across all forms of gambling. While online gambling has and continues to present some regulatory challenges, we should be open to new approaches for enforcing those standards when the technology allows for it.

We also know that some forms of gambling such as poker machines and wagering have greater adverse impacts than other forms such as lotteries. Given this, it is even more important that these kinds of high-risk gambling products are appropriately regulated. Under the wagering tax model outlined in the budget, operators will be required to pay a 15 per cent tax on the revenue from those bets placed in the ACT or made by ACT residents. This initiative will not only provide revenue, but also data to inform the commission’s regulation and monitoring of gambling activities in the territory.

Increasingly, we are identifying new ways to monitor and regulate online markets, and I am pleased to see the government taking action in this space. New proposals for the regulation of online gambling are now being proposed, including the introduction of pre-commitment systems and other harm-minimisation approaches. I look forward to seeing the options for regulation and harm minimisation in this space continue to improve.

We know that gambling technologies are highly addictive, and that is why part of the responsibility for reducing gambling harm rests not just with the individual but also with government. Government action on gambling must prioritise the health and social wellbeing of people ahead of gambling industry interests. We must move away from an unsustainable and an unethical reliance on gambling revenue. The Greens will continue to call for an evidence-based public health approach on this important issue.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

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