(Opposition to Bill, 29 October 2015, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
I do not support the Gaming and Liquor Administration Amendment Bill.
The bill appears to weaken the enforcement powers and independence of the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.
I have not had the opportunity to properly consider this bill because, like many bills at this time of year, it is being rushed through the house without members being given the time to assess and consult on its impacts.
ILGA should maintain its own staff with enforcement and inspection powers to ensure its decisions on liquor and gaming licences are independent of government influence – ILGA’s aim is solely to prevent impacts from liquor and gaming.
It is ironic that the government has imposed blanket 1.30am lockout laws on liquor venues across my electorate, except of course the casino, including good operators that help civilise our night economy, yet is weakening the body that is best placed to discipline rogue operators.
The focus of future regulation must be disciplinary action to prevent intoxication and encourage responsible management, not excessive blanket conditions, while maintaining a ban on 24 hour licensing. We need a strong independent enforcement body to do this.
Similarly with gaming, there needs to be more focus on operators that encourage problem gambling and allow patrons to lose savings and this is best policed by an independent operator. ILGA has been criticised for refusing liquor and poker machine licences and I am concerned this could be at the heart of this bill.
Liquor and gaming do provide profits to government and this is why an independent body must have enforcement powers.
I cannot support the bill.