Page 1617 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 July 2020

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I met recently with a young couple who have a family member experiencing gambling harm. They approached me with their detailed research on gambling harm in the ACT and with considered responses to how to assist clubs to make positive and reasonable changes to assist their vulnerable patrons. These young people are dealing firsthand with the impact of problem gambling in their family. They were not the fun police; they were not making a moral judgement about their family member’s situation or the reasons why people choose to gamble. They had recognised a problem and were working as best they could to try to present solutions. Their work is very high quality, motivated by truly understanding the reality of the effect that problem gambling can have on a family—on their financial situation, on the relationships in the family, on the sense of trust in the family, and on the sense of hope.

It is time to stop and listen to the evidence. We have an opportunity to do that while people are still coming out of the respite they have been given during the COVID-19 shutdown. Before they go back into the cycle of gambling harm, we can take a decision today to urge the government to put these bet limits in place—take a decision now that this is the time to make a difference for these families, for these members of our community. I commend the motion to the Assembly and I urge members to give it significant consideration.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 11.56 am to 2.00 pm.

Questions without notice

Planning—master plans

MR COE: Madam Speaker, I have a question for the Minister for Planning and Land Management, relating to master plans. Minister, during your time as planning minister, how many master plans have you started and how many of those have actually been completed?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Coe for his question. Master planning is an important part of planning for the future of Canberra. It works with the Canberra community and what they want to see in the jurisdiction for the future and also looks to future aspects of growth for the ACT. I will have to come back with the direct numbers. I think almost all of the master plans are now complete.

MR COE: Minister, is it now government policy that the government will not be continuing with master plans because they raise unnecessarily high community expectations, as stated by Minister Stephen-Smith at a community meeting in Pialligo on Tuesday night?

MR GENTLEMAN: As I said, it is historical for us to use master plans. If there are other opportunities for us to engage with the Canberra community on the future of planning, we will look at those aspects as well. Master planning is still within our planning processes at this stage. There are no active master plans; they have all been completed.

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