Wednesday, 29 March 2017
I, and also on behalf of Senator Xenophon and Senator Griff, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the National Consumer Protection Framework, in relation to interactive gambling, is currently being developed,
(ii) Commonwealth, state and territory gambling ministers are meeting regarding the Framework on 31 March 2017,
(iii) the Framework is being developed as a response to the O'Farrell Review and that gaming ministers are aiming to develop a better harm–minimisation strategy around online services,
(iv) currently, harm–minimisation strategies are a matter for states and territories, despite the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (Cth) (IGA) regulating electronic gambling,
(v) there is no national gambling regulator and the Nick Xenophon Team's amendment to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, to establish a national regulator, was rejected by the Government,
(vi) the Framework will not apply to land-based betting,
(vii) land-based betting includes electronic betting terminals (EBTs) which are permitted under the IGA but harm–minimisation strategies are regulated by states and territories,
(viii) statistics show at least 400,000 Australians either have a significant gambling addiction or are showing signs of developing a problem – the Productivity Commission has also stated that every problem gambler impacts on average on seven other people, and
(ix) the harm caused by gambling, such as financial hardship, relationship breakdown and emotional harm is the same, regardless of what form of gambling the harm arises from; and
(b) calls on the Government to develop and apply the National Consumer Protection Framework to land-based betting, as well as online gambling.
The government cannot support this motion. The Commonwealth contributes to the regulation of online gambling, through the Interactive Gambling Act, given that the internet is not confined to state and territory borders. The regulation of all other forms of land based gambling, which are wholly contained within state and territory jurisdictions, has always been a matter for state and territory governments through their own legislation and individual regulators. The Australian government believes that states and territories are best placed to regulate land based gambling services and venues within their jurisdictions.
The opposition will not be supporting this motion today. Whilst we recognise Senator Kakoschke-Moore's intent, we are unable to support all of the points raised in this motion. We recognise that well regulated gambling has a place in Australian society and that the growth of illegal online gambling is of great concern. While the majority of people gamble in a responsible manner, Labor knows that gambling in our community can in some cases have devastating social, financial and emotional consequences.
In relation to the National Consumer Protection Framework, we welcome the government's response to the O'Farrell review and the commitment by the Commonwealth, state and territory ministers to work together to develop and establish this important work. We understand that the Commonwealth, state and territory gambling ministers are meeting this Friday to progress work around the National Consumer Protection Framework. It is our expectation that the National Consumer Protection Framework be completed without delay. We do not want to wait another three years for this important work to be concluded.