 Hodgman and Gutwein simply refusing to acknowledge poker machine damage
 Premier the only person standing in the way of true gaming reform
 Heartless Liberals blatantly prepared to put profits before people
Treasurer Peter Gutwein and Premier Will Hodgman continue to show heartless disregard for the real damage poker machines have inflicted on Tasmanian communities.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said despite clear evidence that poker machines in pubs and clubs are responsible for widespread social and economic damage, the Liberal Government was still trying to deceive Tasmanians with their “reduction” in machine numbers which will reduce the cap by only 150, the vast majority of which are not even in use, with 135 not even in circulation.
Of even more concern, the Liberals won’t say whether the number of machines in suburbs and towns could increase by putting future licences into a competitive tender process.
“It defies belief that Mr Hodgman and Mr Gutwein could be so ignorant of the heartache being experienced every day by Tasmanian families as poker machines have spread throughout our communities,” Ms White said.
“It’s also shocking that the Premier and Treasurer could be so blatantly heartless in their willingness to put tax revenue ahead of the health and welfare of Tasmanians, desperately attacking a genuine plan to address the problem by claiming it will hurt the state budget.
“Mr Hodgman has himself said the tax revenue from poker machines is not essential to the state budget when he said:
“That is not to demean or diminish the size of the returns, but in the scheme of things, about 1 per cent of the state budget could not seriously be described as a government being dependent upon gaming returns.”.
Ms White said the Premier was willfully standing in the way of allowing Tasmanian communities to become healthier and address one of the serious causes of poverty.
“He would willfully allow Tasmanians to continue to lose $110 million each year, which is the amount lost last year and is money that could be better spent in our communities supporting small business and families.
“They are willing to ignore the Social and Economic Impact Study of Gaming In Tasmania evidence which shows the social costs of problem gambling are between $37 million and $184 million each year.
“Labor has consulted extensively, taking the time to meet with the owners and operators of more than 70 pubs and clubs as well as key stakeholders before we announced our policy.
“By contrast, the Liberals and Mr Hodgman have failed to consult, have no policy, are prepared to turn a blind eye to the damage in our communities and continue to support an unacceptable status quo.”
Rebecca White MP Labor Leader