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Liberals' Sham Consultation to Entrench Poker Machine Harm

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Tags: Mental Health, Pokies, Federal Group

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

The Liberals' plan for the future of gambling in Tasmania released last yesterday afternoon will entrench social harm for two decades to come. It is the gambling industry's wish list written up as government policy, and labelled as 'consultation'.

The 'consultation paper', with its offensively short submission timelines, makes clear that any comments about government policy are out of scope. Tasmanians who understand the ingrained social harm and serious health consequences of pokies get no real say.

Poker machine addiction leads to poverty, child neglect, family violence, mental ill health and suicide. Those are the tragic, undisputed facts.

As the former Health Minister, Michael Ferguson knows full well the human impact of poker machines. He knows how they can cost people their lives, and how removing them from communities would lower the rate of gambling addiction.

Finance Minister, Michael Ferguson's consultation paper doesn't recommend reducing the harm caused by poker machines, in fact the opposite is true.

The consultation paper announces the Social and Economic Impact Study (SEIS) into gambling harm would only be conducted every five years, instead of every three. The paper also sets a cap on the number of poker machines to be fifty more than the State currently has.

While the serious health impact of poker machines in communities is well known, there is no clarity on how much Federal Hotels will pay in tax to government. The Federal Group are clearly still negotiating that rate behind closed doors.

Who else gets to negotiate their tax rate? 

Poker machine addiction leads to suicide, child neglect, family violence, mental illness and imprisonment. This so-called consultation not only does nothing to address that, it facilitates its entrenchment.