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Gambling Policy

21 March 2019

Ms O'CONNOR question to TREASURER, Mr GUTWEIN

Yesterday you outlined how your socially devastating gambling policy will be delivered by legislation early next year. You made it clear if the individual licensing model legislation fails to pass the deed will stay in place. Either way, your political donors are happy, although we see the Federal Group, which pockets around $100 million a year from pokies losses, is bleating for more special treatment. Can you confirm the Federal Group, or Mulawa Holdings, is pushing for a sweet tax deal with your Government? Will you rule out delivering a lower gambling tax rate to a company that has leeched off this state and its people for the past 40 years?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, there is no doubt - and I will again make the point I made yesterday - this is all about politics and you separating yourself from that lot. That is what this is about. If you look back at the media releases you put out in recent times, that is exactly what you are looking to do.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I ask the Treasurer to withdraw that accusation. We are talking about a policy here that will cost lives, will lead to child abuse, neglect, homelessness and poverty. We are not using this as a political exercise. It is because we are the only people in this place who are standing by people who are addicted to gambling.

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order. It would be nice if the Treasurer withdrew his accusation.

Ms O'Connor - What an outrageous thing to say.

Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, the accusation that she is trying to separate herself from Labor?

Ms O'Connor - They did that.

Mr GUTWEIN - If the member has taken offence at anything I have said, I withdraw it.

Madam SPEAKER - Thank you.

Mr GUTWEIN - Again, it is a statement of fact that the member is doing exactly what I suggested she is and attempting to separate herself from Labor.

In terms of gaming, it is important that some facts put on the table. There are certainly some things that the member seems to completely ignore. First, the member understands that Tasmanians are spending less on gambling than they were in previous years. The number of Tasmanians that gamble has decreased as well. The revenue returns that we receive are decreasing as well. The mandatory code that was put in place is the strictest in the country. They are the facts of the matter. The vast majority of Tasmanians can gamble responsibly.

It seems bizarre that you are suggesting we are attempting to cosy up to the Federal Group. I want to make this point, as the Premier by interjection did earlier, they have been a very good corporate citizen in this state. They have invested when others would not and they have employed thousands of Tasmanians over the time that they have been in business.

In terms of the ongoing arrangements, as I indicated yesterday we will be introducing legislation next year to end the monopoly in 2023. We are engaged with stakeholders. We have a unit within Treasury which is working with stakeholders in terms of taxes, licence fees and term.

As we said in our election policy we will benchmark across the country to understand a position for Government to enter those discussions. That is exactly what we have done and that process is underway.