For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 12 Jan 2014.
To the astonishment and dismay of many in the community, especially the churches that do such great front-line work in helping people addicted to gambling, the federal government plans to repeal the previous government’s historic gambling reform legislation.
A significant element in gambling reform, and therefore in helping those at risk of gambling addiction, is a national gambling regulator. Part of the repeal package seeks to remove this body.
But doing away with the national gambling regulator leaves the States to compete in a “race to the bottom in terms of gambling consumer protection, and it is another hurdle to overcome in order to establish workable public health controls for internet and online gambling.
Repeal of the legislation creating the national gambling regulator also opens doors for the industry to push much more aggressively against the meagre consumer protections currently in place. Australia needs stronger, not weaker, gambling reform laws.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.