Finance Minister Michael Ferguson confirmed in Budget Estimates today profound social harm caused by poker machines is set to continue, entrenched until 2043, despite legislation being delayed.
The legislation is now set to be tabled, and presumably debated, in the first half of 2021.
While the Gutwein Government claims the delay in gaming legislation is due to the COVID pandemic, it’s clear conversations have continued with the industry and particularly, the Federal Group.
Despite public statements, both the Premier and Minister Ferguson have been in negotiations with Federal Hotels about their casino tax – which is already one of the lowest in the nation. That’s not enough for Federal Group it seems, they want a sweeter deal from party they helped in to government at the last election.
It will come as no surprise the Gutwein Government are still getting their marching orders from Federal Hotels. They are the voice that matters to the Liberals.
Poker machines leech almost $200 million from Tasmanians, including 2,750 problem gamblers. They cause untold suffering – family violence, alcohol and drug addiction, poverty, mental ill health and suicide.
The widely known social harms apparently do not come into it for the Liberals, only their donors’ interests.
While Michael Ferguson refused to admit the harm poker machines cause, it’s clear it will continue – backed by Labor, who have abandoned their once principled policy to remove pokies from pubs and clubs.