Leadership needed to protect most vulnerable from gaming harm: ACT Greens

Australian Greens

As the COVID pandemic continues to impact our community, the Greens have today again called on the ACT Government to deliver a series of modest reforms to make poker machines safer for those at risk of gaming harm.

The ACT Greens support the public health advice of the ACT Chief Health Officer (CHO) in relation to the ACT’s response to the COVID pandemic. Today the CHO announced that poker machines and the Canberra casino will reopen this Monday.

“With more Canberrans and their families facing financial hardship due to the economic impacts of COVID, the opportunity remains – now – for the Government to display real leadership when it comes to the ‘wicked problem’ of gaming harm in the ACT,” Greens Spokesperson for Gaming Harm Reform Rebecca Vassarotti said today.

“The Government has a responsibility to protect the community, and this could yet be a moment of real leadership and lasting consequence for people impacted by gaming harm in our community.

“Instead, as it stands, the machines will be turned back on – and still there won’t be any plan to make them any safer than they were before the pandemic.”

This follows the disappointing decision on part of ACT Labor and the Canberra Liberals in late July, who did not support a motion from the Greens designed to reduce Canberra’s poker machine bet limits and to strengthen protections against gaming harm during the pandemic.

“The recent pokies shutdown period has been a real relief for people with a gambling problem. The inability to access poker machines has given them a real break.

“The measure of any community is how it protects its most vulnerable, and Canberrans should consider this when voting at the next election. Now, more than ever, commonsense and a bit of leadership can prevail,” Mr Rattenbury added.

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