Gambling Minister Tom Koutsantonis has revealed the Rann Government will not remove the promised 3,000 gaming machines from SA pubs and clubs until next year - if at all.
Shadow Gambling Minister Michelle Lensink said today that Mr Koutsantonis had told Estimates Hearings at State Parliament that nothing would be done to cut pokie numbers until after the Productivity Commission reports next year.
“The Government promised to reduce pokie numbers by 3,000, but has admitted in Estimates that such a move may be “putting the industry through too much change that may be unnecessary”.
“The Government is sneakily trying to hang on to the tax revenue generated from these machines without any real concern about the industry or harm minimisation measures.”
Mr Koutsantonis told Estimates Hearing on Friday that the targeted reduction would not be considered until next year.
“…there is not much we can do until the Productivity Commission reports,’’ Mr Koutsantonis said.
“If I rush into the Parliament with amendments about harm minimisation and the Productivity Commission comes down in February with a final report, people will say that we are putting the industry through too much change that may be unnecessary.”
“My view is that, while it is a good target and we should be reaching it, there are other methods that are just as important in harm minimisation, but ultimately we will have to wait for the final report in February before we go forward and see what we do.” – Gambling Minister Tom Koutsantonis, Estimates Committee A Friday 26 June, 2009.
“The Premier’s 2004 plan to reduce the number of pokies from about 15,000 to 12,000 to help address problem gambling in this State was clearly disingenuous – and now Minister Koutsantonis is leaving the whole matter up in the air,” Ms Lensink said.
“After five years the Rann Government is still 800 poker machines short of the target he set himself.”