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Commitment to tackling problem gambling remains strong

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Fri 2 November 2012

Cassy O'Connor Minister for Human Services

Greens Minister for Human Services, Cassy O'Connor, today welcomed the Australian Government's gambling reforms that were introduced into Parliament with the support of the Australian Greens, and reiterated the Tasmanian Government's commitment to tackling problem gambling.

"As a Greens Minister, I am totally committed to working to prevent the devastating impacts of problem gambling on individuals, their families and the broader community," she said.

"After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing on gambling reform in recent years, it's good to see progress on gambling reform at the national level, and even though the measures do not go far enough, I believe this is a step in the right direction.

"The reforms introduced to Federal Parliament this week are a welcome step forward, especially the $1.5 million allocation secured by the Greens to go towards the National Gambling Research Foundation.

"I note that Independent MP Andrew Wilkie was taking a swipe at the Greens on statewide ABC radio over pokies reform - he seems to forget that the Greens have been advocating for pokies reform and representing the victims of gambling for many years, long before Mr Wilkie was elected.

"Despite the negativity we have heard from Mr Wilkie, we are also taking strong action at the State level.

"In the Human Services portfolio, we have been supporting measures aimed at reducing the impacts of problem gambling, while helping provide the support that problem gamblers need.

"Campaigns like the successful Know Your Odds campaign help to debunking the myths surrounding gambling, focussing on the hidden truths that often trap gamblers such as the house edge, and warning people that 'the longer you play, the more you lose'.

"We have also allocated significant funds to Gamblers Help services, including face-to-face counselling, financial counselling, community-based education and a 24/7 Gamblers helpline.

"We will also establish resources for teachers to help them identify children who have been, or are being, affected by problem gambling.

"While there is always more work to be done, these are significant measures that reflect our commitment to tackling this serious issue.

"Through the measures we already have in place, we are starting to see some encouraging results, with a decline in Electronic Gaming Machine losses of 3.5 per cent drop in the last financial year.

"This work at State and Federal level demonstrates the benefits of power-sharing and the work of Greens in government to deliver constructive outcomes for our communities. "