Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Gambling spokesperson
The news today that yet another licensed venue in Glenorchy has applied to operate poker machines beggars belief.
An extra 20 poker machines in Glenorchy's "Golden Mile" when the Hodgman Government have committed to capping pokie numbers flies in the face of the work of the Joint Select Committee on Gaming in Tasmania.
The Joint Select Committee on Future Gaming Markets was established because of serious community concern about poker machines in Tasmania.
For Treasurer Gutwein to allow 20 more machines to be installed in Glenorchy is a slap in the face to the Tasmanian public, the majority of whom want pokies out of pubs and clubs.
Hobart’s northern suburbs already hold the alarming title of the highest gambling losses per person in the State. For the Liberals to allow another 20 gaming machines in such an economically disadvantaged area is reprehensible.
If the Liberals don't refuse the application, it will confirm they have no intention of getting pokies out of pubs and clubs, thumbing their noses at the community sector and all Tasmanians who want them gone.
When he established the Parliamentary Committee, the Treasurer expressed his concerns about pokie numbers in the State and committed to capping numbers. It seems even that will be ignored, saying that any new permits will be addressed retrospectively.
It's much simpler to impose a moratorium on poker machine licences, for the community and venue owners. If the Liberals really mean what they say about capping numbers, they can't communities at risk in the interim.
The Liberals can't have their cake and eat it too. They need to protect disadvantaged Tasmanians from further harm, and shouldn't leave pub owners in the lurch.