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Poverty
  9. Poker machines – betting limits
  10. Homelessness and housing affordability
   


Poverty

9. Poker machines – betting limits

The Productivity Commission's inquiry report into gambling recommended that by 2016 Governments should require all electronic gaming machines to be limited to a $1 bet. How does your Party respond to this recommendation? What else would your Party do to tackle problem gambling?

Liberal National Coalition
Liberal National Coalition [View responses to all questions from the Liberal National Coalition]
  • A Liberal-Nationals Coalition government will maintain the current cap on the number of gaming machines in Victoria and will not permit any increase.
  • We will also implement pre-commitment, including measures to encourage take-up and avoid stigma.
  • We will monitor the impact of the reduction in maximum EGM bet from $10 to $5 before determining whether further reduction is warranted.

The maximum EGM bet was halved this year from $10 to $5 (outside the casino) with the Coalition's support.  We will monitor the impact of this measure before determining whether any further reduction is warranted.

As an Opposition, we have opposed the Brumby government's introduction of "TAB TV", which allows live betting through TV remote control and was introduced without any community consultation. 

We exposed and opposed the Brumby Government's approval of a gaming venue that had a sound-proof playroom located next to the gaming room, which led to a backdown by the regulator.

We succeeded in putting the cap of no more than 105 gaming machines per venue - previously a matter of Ministerial discretion - into legislation.

While the Brumby Government has set up an inter-departmental committee to examine proposals for a second casino in Mildura, the Coalition does not have a second casino as part of our policy.

We have supported moves to remove ATMs from gaming venues in 2012 and the introduction of pre-commitment.  Indeed, we led the way in calling for pre-commitment a number of years before the policy was adopted by the Brumby Government.

When the Brumby Government sought to expand the casino by 150 gaming tables without any socio-economic assessment or additional problem gambling measures, the Coalition stepped in to demand that an SEA take place and we secured $10 million in additional problem gambling measures including 20 new Gamblers Help trainers to train front line gaming venue staff in how to identify and assist customers who may have gambling problems and $2.1m for ground-breaking new research to be conducted by the Melbourne-Monash Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre.

We will maintain the current cap on the number of gaming machines in Victoria and will not permit any increase. 

We are committed to implementing pre-commitment to give gamblers more control over their own lives.  We will also adopt measures to encourage the take up of pre-commitment so that there is no social stigma attached to those who choose to set their own limits.



Christian Democratic Party
Christian Democratic Party [View responses to all questions from the Christian Democratic Party]
  • The Christian Democratic Party would (gradually) remove all gaming machines from Victoria and close down the casino.
  • As a makeshift measure, a limit of $1 bets is better than $2 or $5.
  • Our community would be a far better place without organised gambling, which has become a veritable curse: it has been estimated that for every $1 gained by the Government from the gaming industry, $5 is needed to treat its victims.


Democratic Labour Party of Australia
Democratic Labour Party of Australia [View responses to all questions from the Democratic Labour Party of Australia]

One, the DLP would agree with that proposal. Two, we would demand more extensive warnings on pokies and around venues for patrons. Three, we support a ban on drinking alcohol while using a pokie.  Four, the DLP’s policy is to phase out pokies entirely after the expiration of present pokie licences.



Australian Labor Party of Victoria [View responses to all questions from the Australian Labor Party of Victoria]
  • Victoria leads the nation in tackling problem gambling. This is supported by the Productivity Commission, drawing on many Brumby Labor Government initiatives in its recommendations. If re-elected, Labor looks forward to working with Federal and State Governments through the Select Council on Gambling Reform and hope to see reform adopted nationally.
  • Labor has a comprehensive strategy to minimise harm from problem gambling which includes codes of conduct, bans on 24 hour gaming venues, regional caps and reducing the maximum bet by half. If re-elected, Labor will continue to provide support and assistance to problem gamblers through our 5 year, $132 million, Taking Action on Problem Gambling strategy. 
  • Labor is also committed to the removal of ATMs from gaming venues, and if re-elected, Labor will ensure Victoria becomes the first State to remove all ATMs from gaming venues in 2012.
  • Labor’s policies maximise the capacity for people to make informed decisions about their play and stay in control, minimise the harm from problem gambling, and are more effective than limiting bets. 


Family First
Family First [View responses to all questions from the Family First]
  • Family First has long called for $1 betting limits, which is now also being called for by the Productivity Commission.
  • Family First wants pokies out of our suburbs and limited to Crown Casino.
  • Family First would also allow some pokies at country racetracks so people in regional Victoria would not have to travel to Melbourne.

Family First believes poker machines have inflicted a devastating toll on thousands of Victorian families, particularly children, and the problem is only getting worse.

The Victorian community is demanding action. A recent report revealed three in four Victorians believe pokies do more harm than good and gambling was too widely accessible.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation reports that there are over 55,000 problem gamblers in Victoria.  Each problem gambler has a negative impact on up to 7 other people. Poker machines are listed by 84.2% of problem gamblers as being their preferred form of gambling.

Family First recognizes that many Victorians gamble responsibly and enjoy it which is why we will keep machines at the casino, which is the place for them.

Family First believes poker machines plaguing our suburbs have caused family breakdown and financial devastation and the Government has turned a blind eye to the devastation. The Government's failure to cull the number of poker machines proves it is drunk on pokies tax. It is a tragedy that the Government sends “problem gambling kits” to schools instead of tackling the problem itself and culling the number of machines.

It is also a joke that the Government has ordered a report into how gambling affects kids. If the government really cared it would get rid of the machines.



Australian Greens
Australian Greens [View responses to all questions from the Australian Greens]
  • The Greens would fully support all efforts to limit poker machine use: we want Victoria’s 30,000 machines to be reduced to 10,000 machines.
  • We have a long-standing policy and a history of campaigning to make the maximum bet $1 on poker machines
  • We want to reduce maximum credit balances (i.e. how much can be inserted into a machine) to $200.

Gambling harms individuals, families and communities in this country. Victoria has become “gambling income dependent” and it is a great blot on our state’s name and reputation. Poker machines raise over 1 billion in tax revenue for the state government each year. This is nothing to be proud of. We are seeing thousands of people and their families seriously damaged by poker machine addictions.

The Greens have been asking for years to reduce the total number of poker machines down from 30,000 in Victoria to 10,000.

The Greens negotiated with the government to have an earlier phase-out date to remove ATMs from gambling venues.

There should be a maximum of $1 bets on poker machines: there must be a removal of note acceptors from them, and a limit of no more than $200 that can be “stored” in a poker machine for credit. We want any prize of over $250 to be given as a cheque to the winners, (to prevent them from putting it all back into the machines). We want to ban incentives to gamble (such as the provision of free food and drinks).

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10. Homelessness and housing affordability

The increasing costs of living, especially housing, is perpetuating the problem of homelessness. Reports now suggest that an increasing number of single women over the age of 45 are under housing stress, particularly due to rising rents. What will your Party do to tackle the related issues of homelessness and housing affordability, particularly where they relate to vulnerable women, children and families?

Liberal National Coalition
Liberal National Coalition [View responses to all questions from the Liberal National Coalition]
  • A Liberal-Nationals Coalition government will continue to invest in public housing to provide affordable and secure housing to low income Victorians.
  • We will manage public housing stock and maintenance more efficiently to ensure fewer properties are left vacant so that families are allocated homes faster.
  • We will also strengthen Victoria’s housing association sector to increase the availability of affordable housing for low income Victorians.

The Victorian Liberal-Nationals Coalition is committed to the provision of affordable housing that includes home ownership, private rental, and public and community housing, and to working with the Commonwealth towards a shared vision to halve homelessness by 2020.

The Coalition is committed to a proactive and preventative homelessness strategy, including a “child first” approach to homeless families to assist them to maintain connections to local communities, support networks and schools to prevent any further disruption to children.

The Coalition will continue to invest in public housing to provide affordable and secure housing to low income Victorians. In addition, we will manage public housing stock and maintenance more efficiently to ensure that families are allocated a home faster and fewer properties are left vacant for extended periods of time.

A Coalition government will strengthen Victoria’s housing association sector to increase the availability of affordable housing for low income Victorians, and work with associations to ensure the needs of the homeless, women, the elderly and the disabled are met.



Christian Democratic Party
Christian Democratic Party [View responses to all questions from the Christian Democratic Party]
  • “Vulnerable women”, especially abandoned mothers raising children, should clearly have, or continue to have, precedence in the provision of cheap public housing.
  • “No fault divorce” has created big problems; for example, where a husband and father has forsaken his family, at the very least, he should be made legally responsible for his family’s support and housing.
  • Homelessness is invariably a result of deeper issues, which should be studied and treated – e.g. a rebellious youth who forsakes the reasonable discipline of loving parents in order to seek independence and “freedom”.


Democratic Labour Party of Australia
Democratic Labour Party of Australia [View responses to all questions from the Democratic Labour Party of Australia]

A home for every Australian family has long been one of the central concerns of the DLP. Indeed present schemes to help Australians to buy a home had their origin in programs established at the instigation of the DLP decades ago. Some of the things we could do to help the housing situation would be: one, promote decentralisation, that is, encourage population growth outside the large cities of Australia. Two, encourage families to stay together where possible (each divorce/family breakdown effectively increases the demand for housing and therefore increases the real cost of housing). Three, we support the establishment of an expert body made up of economists and tax experts and people with expertise in real estate, to advise the government as to how it can achieve stable housing prices (ie. how increases in the price of houses and apartments can be kept at around the inflation rate).



Australian Labor Party of Victoria [View responses to all questions from the Australian Labor Party of Victoria]
  • The Brumby Labor Government has made Victoria the only state to develop a 10 year Homelessness 2020 Strategy with a $42 million package to invest in projects to reduce homelessness.
  • If re-elected, Labor will build over 6,500 new units of social housing by 2012 as well as 8,500 new affordable rental homes. In total over 14,000 new affordable rental homes will be built by 2012.
  • The Brumby Labor Government is committed to reforming the rooming house sector with a $77.2 million package of initiatives improve the standards in rooming houses, support families to move out of rooming houses and increase the supply of rooming houses.

Labor has started the biggest social housing build in decades. The major investments made by the State and Federal Government include: $1.17 billion under Nation Building, 8,500 new rental homes under the National Rental Affordability Scheme and the $500 million commitment from the Brumby Labor Government.

In late September the Brumby Labor Government released its $42 million Victorian Homelessness 2020 Strategy.  This Strategy is a 10 year plan that aims to make measurable reductions in the homelessness population. We know that people are concerned about the growing number of families in housing crisis. That is why, as a part of the new Strategy, to be implemented if Labor is re-elected, two 4-year flagship projects will locate a new multi-disciplinary team of staff. This team will have specific expertise with families and families escaping domestic violence and will be able to provide intensive assistance to around 500 individuals, including children.

Under Labor’s plan, these projects will aim to make sure that all children involved attend and stay in primary and secondary education. A re-elected Brumby Labor Government would also ensure that the program is evaluated after four years.

In addition, Labor is committed to protecting vulnerable Victorians living in rooming houses or other forms of unsuitable accommodation. That is why we have committed $77.2 million over the next four years to address rooming house issues. While in Government, Labor has amended the Residential Tenancies Act to introduce new standards in rooming houses, increased penalties for rogue operators and increased the power of Consumer Affairs inspectors. Over the next few years, if Labor is re-elected, we would continue to purchase rooming houses to increase supply and would implement a private rental brokerage program.



Family First
Family First [View responses to all questions from the Family First]
  • Family First wants increased Government funding for more public housing to take pressure off long waiting lists.
  • Family First is calling for stamp duty to be abolished for all first homebuyers. This will apply for new homes to the value of $400,000. Victorians buying a $300,000 home would save almost $14,000 while those purchasing a $400,000 home would save almost $20,000. Family First estimates its policy could cost the Government up to $500 million in lost revenue.
  • Family First wants the Government to release more land for housing and restore growth areas in the west, south-east and north.

Family First wants Victorians to be able to afford their own home. Home ownership is the Great Australian Dream as it gives people stability and gives families security.

Increasing numbers of Victorian families are caught in the rental trap and are close to giving up on their dreams of ever being able to own their own homes. The average house price is beyond the reach of most couples, who are working harder than ever and dream of starting a family.

Exorbitant stamp duty is crippling families and the Brumby government has become addicted to stamp duty revenue. Stamp duty in Victoria is also much higher than other states adding further pressure to families trying to get into the housing market.



Australian Greens
Australian Greens [View responses to all questions from the Australian Greens]
  • It is the right of every person to have access to affordable, appropriate, safe, healthy, environmentally responsible and community-orientated housing.
  • Security of tenure for private renters and social housing tenants is essential. Tenants and tenant organisations are entitled to participate in decisions about social housing services.
  • More resources must be put into increasing the stock of public housing, to redress the shameful deterioration of this service to the community.

The current housing system is flawed. Homelessness is a growing concern, long waiting lists for public housing continue to grow, low cost private rental is in short supply and younger and low income households struggle to secure affordable home ownership. Differentials in house prices across Melbourne and regional Victoria have the potential to create a divided city and society. In addition, much of our housing has poor environmental sustainability.

There is so much that needs to be done in regards to the housing crisis. The Greens want to see increased investment in social housing, and targeted housing assistance and tax incentives for more effective housing supply outcomes. We want restructuring of the allocations system to give clients greater housing choice and flexibility. The implementation of planning practices which increase provision of affordable and diverse housing stock is critical. We want to ensure an adequate supply of housing to cater for those in crisis and/or with complex needs (e.g. mental illness, substance dependence), with appropriate supports where necessary, while continuing to meet the needs of other low income households. And we want to promote tenant participation in decisions about housing services.

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