Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 07, 2023


Poker Machines

The Hon. C. BONAROS (15:14): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Attorney, representing the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs in another place, a question about poker machine reforms.

Leave granted.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: Other state governments across the country are showing leadership and courage in introducing reforms to combat the damage poker machines are having in their jurisdictions. The latest is the New South Wales Liberal government, which yesterday announced plans to have every poker machine in New South Wales cashless within five years under an ambitious plan to overhaul their gambling industry.

In announcing those reforms, the New South Wales Premier said they were about looking after the vulnerable and stopping money laundering. This follows Australian-first reforms introduced by the Tasmanian government late last year, where gamblers in the state will be prevented from spending more than $5,000 a year on poker machines unless they apply to increase that limit.

The Labor oppositions in both states have also flagged major poker machine reforms should they form government. To be clear, in both of those jurisdictions there are clear agendas to reduce problem gambling in their respective states despite the impact in tax revenue. My questions to the minister are:

1. Does the state government have any plans to show the same sort of intestinal fortitude, not before time, similar to the New South Wales and Tasmanian governments and introduce meaningful bona fide reforms aimed at tackling the scourge of poker machine gambling?

2. Does the government acknowledge that here in South Australia poker machine revenue is actually getting worse to the tune of $2.2 million a day, especially given the revelation of losses of $831 million in 2021-22 alone?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:16): I thank the honourable member for her question and her very longstanding and her party's longstanding interest, as other members of this place also have a very longstanding interest in the issues to do with poker machines and gambling. I will refer them to the minister responsible in the other place and bring back a reply for the honourable member.

The PRESIDENT: It is terrific for me to be able to call the Hon. Mr Hood. It is great to see you, the Hon. Mr Hood, and on behalf of all members I am sure we wish you well.