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Gaming Machine Policy

1 August 2019

Ms O'CONNOR question to TREASURER, Mr GUTWEIN

It was confirmed by last night's vote that Labor supports your socially and economically destructive policy to keep poker machines in pubs and clubs until 2043. Have you provided your Labor Party allies on gambling harm with an update or briefing on when the legislation to give effect to your policy will come to parliament, and how it will implement the individual licensing model which has been condemned by the community sector and the former head of the Gaming Commission? Perhaps you offered your Labor allies on pokies some merchandise to bring them closer into the tent. If you do not have any spares, here is one for the Opposition Leader -

Madam SPEAKER - Order, that is a prop; please put it down.

Ms O'CONNOR - Treasurer, can you tell the remaining two members of the House who recognise the wrong you are about to perpetrate on the Tasmanian people and their democracy whether you have written to the Federal Group about the renovation of their gravy train at the expense of low-income Tasmanians, and if so, what was in the letter to your major corporate donor and will you table the correspondence?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for her question and her interest in it. I note that as of last night, the Labor Party now has zero policies. They have walked away from everything they took to the last election. In fact, it was the signature policy of Ms White which she staked her political leadership on.

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Premier, Ms O'Connor, Ms White.

Mr GUTWEIN - I must admit that is probably to the delight of Mr O'Byrne in where the Labor Party finds itself in respect of gaming policy at the moment.

This gives me an opportunity to make some points about gaming more broadly. This side of the House believes that gaming is a legal and legitimate activity for Tasmanians to engage in. We believe we have one of the strongest harm-minimisation regimes in the country. Regarding the policy we took to the election, we make no apologies for enabling Tasmanians to have the choice to make the decision as to whether or not they want to partake in gaming activity. Importantly, I am proud of the fact that the policy we took to the election ends the monopoly.

In terms of progress of the legislation, we will be bringing legislation through early next year in respect of our policy. Treasury and the gaming branch are engaging with stakeholders. In terms of writing to participants, I would have to check my records.

Ms O'Connor - You can't remember?

Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. I seek the Treasurer's guidance here. If he has written to the Federal Group, does he or does he not remember it?

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order but it might be a point of clarification.

Mr GUTWEIN - Madam Speaker, I have said quite clearly that I will check whether or not correspondence has gone to the Federal Group over the last 18 months.

Ms O'CONNOR - On the point of order, will the Treasurer update the House at the earliest opportunity, preferably today, in relation to that?

Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order but I hope the Treasurer will answer it.

Mr GUTWEIN - I am happy to provide an update to the House if I have written to the Federal Group over the last 18 months. However, as the member would well be aware, I sign hundreds of pieces of correspondence each and every week. I will check my records and provide an update to the House at the earliest opportunity.