Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens' Gambling spokesperson
The Future Gaming Markets Inquiry report tabled today has failed Tasmanians by backing in the status quo and the continued harm caused by poker machines in disadvantaged communities across the State.
While the vast majority of submissions called for the removal of pokies from pubs and clubs, this is not reflected in the report.
There was wide recognition that, in Tasmania, we are presented with the unique opportunity for change as the nature of the monopoly Deed means a single letter could be sent to Federal Hotels to inform them that the party, at the expense of disadvantaged Tasmanians, is over.
If the views of the wider community are listened to, from 2023 high intensity electronic gaming machines would be removed from hotels and clubs.
As the Greens member on the Committee, I voted against any measures which would water down or complicate the removal of pokies from pubs and clubs.
The Greens recommendation to remove poker machines from communities from 2023 was voted down by the committee.
When that failed, I moved two further recommendations on $1 bet limits, mandatory pre-commitment and on a public interest test for all machines from 2023, which were also voted down.
It was extremely sad to see members of Parliament elected to do the right thing by Tasmanians, fail in that duty and back in pokies' profits over people.
This was a once in a generation opportunity to reduce the harm caused by poker machines and to save lives and livelihoods. The report by the majority of the Joint Select Committee fails to consider that possibility, and backs in the devastating harms caused by these machines in our communities.
It is clear to anyone reading the Committee’s report that the majority of members chose to back vested interests over the community. The devastating harm to individuals, families and children caused by poker machines was ignored.
The case for removing poker machines, and the harm they cause, from communities has been made over and over again.
For the committee to ignore the majority of Tasmanians who want pokies out of pubs and clubs, the victims of poker machine addiction and their families, and favour the continued feathering of the nest of Federal Hotels, is abhorrent and irresponsible.