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SOCIAL ISSUES—PROBLEM GAMBLING

Senator Siewert, also on behalf of Senator Xenophon, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 212—That the Senate—

 (a) welcomes the launch of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce on Tuesday, 22 March 2011;

 (b) raises concern at the significant impacts of problem gambling on our community, including relationship breakdown, mental health issues, unemployment, debt and financial hardship, theft and social isolation, with an estimated cost to our community of $4.7 billion a year;

 (c) notes the Productivity Commission's findings that:

  (i) for every problem gambler, on average seven other people are adversely impacted as a direct result, and

  (ii) of the 600 000 Australians who play poker machines on a weekly basis, approximately 15 per cent are problem gamblers and account for around 40 per cent of expenditure on the `pokies', with an estimated average
loss of $21 000 per problem gambler per year, and another 15 per cent are at risk of becoming problem gamblers; and

 (d) commends the ongoing effort to introduce a national pre-commitment scheme for all electronic gambling machine venues and expresses the hope that we can reduce the impacts of problem gambling on those vulnerable to gambling addiction, their families and loved ones.

Question put and passed.