Tuesday, 27 October 2009

You're Wrong Mr Brumby (Part 2)

In January 2009, Victorian Premier John Brumby made an extraordinarily wrong statement about how government should be concerned about the harm of pokie gambling. One of the key points of the Productivity Commission recommends radical change to the Brumby policy.

Click here to have a read of my earlier blog on Brumby's wrong headed policy. I've reproduced his statement below:
"At the end of the day that's what a government's obligation is to do in these areas - it's not to make moral judgments about what's right and what's wrong and how people spend their time - that's a matter for mature adults to determine - not for government,"

"What is the responsibility of government though is to properly inform the community, give the information they require and if people do have a problem with gambling to help them get through it and that's exactly what we do."
Compare the following three key points from the Productivity Commission:
The significant social costs associated with problem gambling mean that even policy measures with modest efficacy will often be worthwhile. Rough, but conservative, calculations suggest that even a 10 per cent sustained reduction in harm could provide a gain to society of nearly half a billion dollars annually.

Over the last decade, state and territory governments have put in place an array of regulations and other measures intended to reduce harms to consumers. Some have been helpful, but some would have had little effect, and some have imposed unnecessary burdens on the industry.

A more coherent and effective policy approach is called for. There is a particular need for targeted harm minimisation policies that can effectively address the high rate of problem gambling among regular gaming machine players. Most gamblers would not be affected by this approach.
The significant difference is that Premier Brumby's focus is on treating the problem gamblers once they succumb to pokie gambling. In this way, the revenue from pokie losses is secured irrespective of the human consequences. His government is resistant to any change from "Business as Usual"

The Productivity Commission's focus is on minimising the harm not picking up the pieces of broken pokie gamblers.

You're wrong Mr Brumby. Please show leadership and bring in the $1 button push (equating to losses of around $120 per hour) with a $20 limit on the cash acceptor.

Do it now.

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