For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 1 Dec 2013.
In 2012 the Australian Parliament passed historic legislation aimed at reducing the very high levels of gambling harm in Australia. Under the Abbott Government’s watch, all the gains could be undone.
The Chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, the Reverend Tim Costello, said recent research from the Coalition Government in Victoria demonstrated that removal of ATMs from poker machine venues had a significant impact in reducing losses from people with gambling problems – yet the Federal Coalition Government opposes even having limits on ATM withdrawals.
There is no doubt that poker machines cause extensive harm to individuals, families and our communities. Our Parliament must act immediately to reduce this ongoing harm. It’s time for the clubs and hotels to stop dictating policy, and it’s time for our elected politicians to govern for the common good, passing sensible laws aimed at harm minimisation and public health rather than private profit and public misery.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.