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Monday, 21 May 2012
Page: 4682


Dear Mr Murphy

Thank you for your letter of 13 February 2012 enclosing a petition about the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment for poker machines that was presented to the Standing Committee on Petitions by the Sawtell Bowling and Recreation Club. I apologise for the lengthy delay in responding.

On 21 January 2012, the Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, announced a comprehensive plan for national problem gambling reform. This reform plan includes Commonwealth legislation to rollout pre-commitment infrastructure on every poker machine in the country.

The Australian Government also announced its support for a large scale trial of mandatory pre-commitment in the Australian Capital Territory to build the evidence base for mandatory pre-commitment.

The trial will be rigorously evaluated and subject to an independent review by the Productivity Commission. The Productivity Commission will report to the Parliament in 2014 and make recommendations about whether a national rollout of mandatory pre-commitment should proceed.

This staged, evidence-based pathway to implementing pre-commitment reflects the approach recommended by the Productivity Commission in its 2010 Inquiry Report on Gambling.

The Commonwealth will legislate to ensure:

new machines manufactured or imported from the end of 2013 are pre-commitment capable;

all gaming machines be part of a state-wide pre-commitment system and display electronic warnings by 2016, with longer implementation timelines for small venues; and

These Bills will be the first ever national gaming machine regulations. They will make sure that pre-commitment technology is installed on every one of the country's more than 200,000 poker machines. This will mean that the infrastructure is in place to move to a mandatory pre-commitment system, if the results of the trial support it.

Thank you again for writing on behalf of the Standing Committee on Petitions.

from the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform, Ms Macklin