For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 5 Jan 2014.
The Chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, the Reverend Tim Costello, recently gave evidence to a Senate committee hearing into the Abbott Government’s proposed repeal of Labor’s modest gambling reform laws.
Rev Costello said that in 1999 Australia had 20 per cent of the world’s poker machines, every visiting delegation talks about the Australian gambling disaster, and the States have been allowed to continue to have jurisdiction over the regulation of gambling – like having “Dracula in charge of the blood bank.”
The 2009 Productivity Commission Report on gambling in Australia revealed that at least 40 per cent of money going through the pokies comes from people addicted to gambling. Last year’s modest gambling reform laws aimed to complement the churches’ ministry of running ambulances at the bottom of the cliff by building a fence at the top of the cliff.
As Tim Costello put it, “It looks like that fence is about to be pulled down.”
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.