Michelle Lensink

Statutes Amendment (Location Of Gaming Venues) Bill

This speech is to indicate the Liberal Party's support for the Statutes Amendment (Location Of Gaming Venues) Bill.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (18:30): This is a small bill. I would like to make note of the fact that it has four clauses. I am grateful for the minister's previous contribution reiterating that there is currently a ban on gambling in shopping centres and the sharing of car parks. I believe that this parliament has supported the principle consistently that shopping centres and gaming venues should not be in too close proximity because of the principle that people who are out and about obtaining the staples of life should not necessarily be tempted to whittle away what they have on gaming machines.

There are a number of Liberals who have some reservations on this, myself included. I think in South Australia we have seen some maturing of the market, as it were, in relation to gaming machines, with more comprehensive efforts by gaming proprietors, hoteliers and so forth, and the industry is taking a lot more responsibility in terms of problem gamblers. I hope that, in future, we will have much more informed debate than we have had in the past. Unfortunately, people still make remarks to me that gaming is somehow a tax on the poor. I note that my colleague, the Hon. Robert Lawson, gave a speech on this fairly recently, which I wholeheartedly endorse.

I think that we do need to make decisions based on evidence, and a number of my colleagues were a little sceptical about this, because the evidence about what contributes to people developing problem gambling has, at times, been quite a hysterical and uninformed debate, particularly perhaps in this chamber, and that has led to some reservations. One of the questions that I would like to ask the honourable member—and I will place that on the record now—is whether he has any evidence or piece of research that he can point to which demonstrates that this measure is going to make any difference in that regard. In keeping with the spirit of the legislation that we have supported consistently, the Liberal Party will be supporting this bill.

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