Council’s Amendments

Danny O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (16:06): I just want to say a couple of things about this bill wrapping up and the amendment that has been moved in the other place. I will probably not take the full 30 minutes, I think, at this stage. We are disappointed on this side that the upper house, particularly the crossbenchers, have supported this legislation. As indicated last time in here, we do not believe the government has made a case for the abolition of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation (VRGF), nor more particularly that its new model will actually deliver the services that are required for people who experience gambling harm. So it is disappointing that the Greens in particular have changed their position from voting against it in this chamber to supporting it in the other chamber. In the context, though, of that, the amendment that has been moved by the Greens and passed by the other place with respect to establishing a review of the new arrangements after two years and no less than three years we do think is worth supporting because of the fact that we do not actually believe that this will do the job that is required.

I might say the Greens in the other place indicated that they had come to a deal with the government, come to an arrangement on a number of issues that are completely irrelevant or certainly not related to the actual bill in question. That is a concern, particularly as it relates to other reforms that the government has proposed but has not yet actually delivered, with respect in particular to mandatory precommitment. The member in the other place indicated that the government had agreed to a $50 default limit for precommitment for mandatory carded play but that that can be changed, so I really do not understand what benefit that has delivered for people with potential gambling issues. Likewise there is a vague reference to some sort of reform of the community benefit scheme, which I do not disagree with. I think it actually does need to be looked at, but it is not clear to any of us what that will entail. Thirdly, I understand there was some discussion about gambling advertising, to which I certainly say, ‘Hear, hear,’ that we reform gambling advertising. But it seems to be that the minister is going to write to her federal colleague. That is the deal that has been done. So I do not think the Greens have actually got anything out of this in changing their position from what it was in this place.

We remain disappointed that the VRGF has been abolished. As I said, I do not think the government’s proposals will actually deliver what they intend to do, because they are sending gambling harm, research and management of gambling harm in three different directions and it will actually become fractured and siloed, which I think is not good. Nonetheless in that circumstance a review in two years as proposed by this amendment the Liberals and Nationals are happy to support.

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