The Tasmanian Greens have accused the Liberals of using government resources to help the gambling lobby fight an unfavourable report into poker machines in the months before the election.
Right to Information documents reveal the Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) emailed Treasurer Peter Gutwein in September 2017, asking for his opinion and information on an Anglicare report, which was tabled in a parliamentary gaming inquiry ( http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-24/greens-claim-rti-documents-show-treausrer-helped-pokies-lobby/9693990 ).
The report found removing poker machines from Tasmanian pubs and clubs would see millions of dollars flow into the state’s economy each year and create hundreds of jobs.
Replying to the THA’s email, Mr Gutwein said he would “seek advice” and respond, and included his chief of staff in the email thread.
Two weeks later, Mr Gutwein’s chief of staff emailed the THA with the Treasurer’s response.
Mr Gutwein said the Anglicare report’s methodology undermined its findings, and the economic modelling was not robust.
The Treasurer pointed to other reports on the economic and social impacts of gambling as a “more reliable source of information for (the THA) to rely upon”.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said the Treasurer had effectively helped the THA in its fight against Anglicare, as poker machines heated up to become a key election issue.
“We believe it was the sign of an unhealthy relationship between the Liberals and the THA, that led to the Treasurer asking his treasury department to help the industry dismantle the community sector’s evidence about the harm caused by poker machines,” Ms O’Connor said …