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Devonport Gaming Licence for Proposed Hotel

12 September 2019

Ms O'CONNOR question to TREASURER, Mr GUTWEIN

You may be aware that last year the people of Devonport lost more than $10 million in the city's poker machines. You should also be aware that socio-economic disadvantage is entrenched in the poorer parts of Devonport and that your policy, which will be enacted through legislation early next year, will ensure that enormous social and economic harm continues for the next two decades at least.

Residents who have long been concerned about the probity and costs surrounding the Devonport Living City project have been told that an approach or application has been made for a gaming licence for the yet-to-built hotel that forms part of the project. Has a proposed operator of the hotel made it a condition of the purchase or lease of the building after it its completion that a gaming licence be granted?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I have no knowledge of the matter the member has raised. Licensing arrangements are a matter for the independent Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission, not for the Treasurer. And the member understands that.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. The Treasurer is responsible for the Gaming Control Act and therefore for the operations of the commission. This is well within his purview. I ask you to draw his attention to the question.

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order. I hope it was a point of clarification.

Ms O'CONNOR - He was about to sit down and not answer a question that has been asked.

Madam SPEAKER - You know the rules in the parliament. I cannot rule it as a point of order.

Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, I have answered that question. I have indicated that the independent Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission is responsible for licensing, not the Treasurer of Tasmania.

I want to once again put on the record that in Tasmania overall participation in gambling has declined.

Ms O'Connor - You can tell yourself that but people are still dying.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr GUTWEIN - The real expenditure on electronic gaming machines in Tasmania has continued to trend steadily downwards. We have one of the strongest harm minimisation arrangements in the country. The member is aware of that but will continue to come into this place on this particular issue, largely as a result of politics and in attempting to position herself in the political debate. It behoves me to once again mention that on that side of the House they do not have a gaming policy. In fact they voted only -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I wanted to draw the Treasurer's attention before he gets himself into trouble in here that when the Dixon Group applied for a gambling licence in Glenorchy, as we recall, you intervened.

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order and it is high disorderly.

Mr FERGUSON - Point of order, Madam Speaker. You have faithfully ruled on this. It is clear that the member is only seeking to disrupt the Treasurer's response to this question.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order. End of point of orders that are not necessary.

Mr GUTWEIN - The point that I was making is that it was only a couple of weeks ago in this place that they voted with the Greens to explain and to announce to Tasmanians that they only have one policy. I do not think anybody in this place has ever witnessed that before. In their desperate attempt to win a political point they made the very clear point to Tasmanians that they only have one particular policy. They certainly do not have a gaming policy. They do not have a shadow treasurer yet.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. You may well turf me out for this but on a point of principle standing order 45, Relevance. The question was about the Devonport Living City arrangements and now the Treasurer again is spending the entire answer attacking the Opposition. It is disrespectful to this parliament and the people of Tasmania.

Madam SPEAKER - I hear you loud and clear. You all know my frustrations with standing order 45. At the end of the day that is not a point of order. The minister is entitled to answer it as he sees fit. I am not allowed to put words in his mouth.

Ms O'Connor - But we get warnings for raising it.

Madam SPEAKER - When you continually raise issues when you know that the answer is going to be exactly the same, I cannot give it to you as a point of order. Please proceed, Treasurer. I remind you that you are well over four minutes.

Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, I will wind up.

Ms O'Connor - Sit down. You are just crapping on.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor. That is highly disorderly conduct and it is very unparliamentary.

Mr GUTWEIN - It speaks volumes for the member and the way that she conducts herself in this place more broadly. I have answered the question that the member asked. I will finish on the point I was making: that side of the House does not as yet even have a shadow treasurer. Whoops, walked past that one, did they? It beggars belief. We will wait with anticipation to see who they select for that role and wish them better luck than the last bloke.