I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Gambling a question about the Independent Gambling Authority (IGA).
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The 2006-07 annual report of the IGA makes a number of comments, including some self-congratulatory remarks about the achievements of the past five years, which I note coincide with the tenure of the previous presiding member, Mr Stephen Howells. Page 2 of that report states:
Despite the progress made and despite the array of measures now available to address gambling-related harm...there remains for the authority a concern that the regulatory system is itself not fully engaged in ensuring enforcement of and compliance with the new rules which, in their essence, are intended to bring about a shift in the thinking of individual gambling providers. These are matters which fall to the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner and his officers and for which, under the present arrangements, the commissioner is responsible to the authority. The authority remains concerned that there are many licensees for whom compliance with the codes of practice and other harm minimisation measures are not a high priority.
I take it that that is a fairly unguarded criticism of the Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner. My questions to the minister are:
1. What measures has she undertaken to repair the relationship between those two agencies since the previous chairman retired from that post?
2. Has she taken any measures to address those concerns that are expressed in this report?
The Hon. CARMEL ZOLLO (Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Road Safety, Minister for Gambling, Minister Assisting the Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (14:33): Clearly, as a regulator the IGA has a very important role in regulating the gambling industry in this state. As we know, this state has a well-established and well-regulated industry. Nonetheless, it is important for us to see responsible gambling and improved harm minimisation in the state. The honourable member may be aware that the day before I became the Minister for Gambling (I think it was 23 July), the former minister in the other place (Hon. Paul Caica), advised in a media release that we would be having a consultation period with the gambling industry and other stakeholders prior to introducing legislation (which will now be in this place as I am the minister) which will see improved responsible gambling environments in the state.
One of those will be strengthening the compliance and enforcement provisions. That discussion paper is available. It is available on the web, and I am sure that the honourable member already knows that. It was made available just this week. Part of our responsibility as a government is to ensure that we see improved gambling compliance and enforcement provisions and improved roles for the Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner. That is the avenue for us to achieve that extra responsibility in our state. While we have a legal industry that is well regulated, we have responsibilities as a government to ensure that we have good compliance in our state.