Gaming licences

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — My question is to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation. Last month the government allowed the approval of 50 pokies to be installed in the Grandview Hotel in Fairfield, against the wishes of the local community. This is despite the Royal Commission into Family Violence showing a link between gambling addiction and family violence —

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER — Order! I ask members to hear the member for Prahran in silence. I could not hear his question.

Ms Green interjected.

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The SPEAKER — The member for Yan Yean will leave the chamber for the period of half an hour.

Honourable member for Yan Yean withdrew from chamber.

 

Mr HIBBINS — My question is to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation. Last month the government allowed the approval of 50 pokies to be installed in the Grandview Hotel in Fairfield, against the wishes of the local community. This is despite the Royal Commission into Family Violence showing a link between gambling addiction and family violence, and despite Darebin City Council repeatedly requesting the cap on pokies in Darebin be reduced. Minister, why did you not step in and stop these pokies?

Ms KAIROUZ (Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation) — I thank the member for his question. It has taken 15 months for someone to finally ask me a question. I am absolutely honoured to be standing here as Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation and just recently as Minister for Local Government — and I have very big shoes to fill. In relation to the member's question, it is in fact the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) that makes those decisions, not me as the gaming minister. It would be extremely inappropriate for me as the gaming minister to intervene in any decision that the VCGLR makes.

In relation to what this government is doing, just recently, over the last few weeks, we have announced some very, very good measures to minimise harm, particularly related to gambling harm in the community. Some of those measures, which the member probably knows about, limit EFTPOS withdrawals at venues and prohibit the cashing of checks at gaming venues. They also prohibit inducements involving cashless gaming, such as the use of a credit card to purchase cashless gaming tickets or putting a value on a cashless card. We are also limiting cash, one of the most important tools, to ensure that harm minimisation is reduced in the community, particularly related to problem gambling. We are also looking at regional caps, and that is one of the things Darebin City Council would be extremely pleased about when we make that announcement over the next couple of days.

An honourable member interjected.

Ms KAIROUZ — That is right. Darebin council is one of the councils that are not always easily impressed, but I am sure that they will be with the announcement to be made over the next couple of days.

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — Minister, you have stated that the particular approval of those 50 pokies was not your responsibility, but is it not true that if you had reduced the cap on pokies in Darebin, as the council has repeatedly requested over many months and years, these pokies would have been stopped?

Ms KAIROUZ (Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation) — The answer to that question is no.