Government | Regulation

No poker face on the Tasmanian Opposition Leader

Last financial year Tasmanians lost $110 million on poker machines in pubs and clubs, Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Rebecca White said at CEDA Tasmania event.

“To me it could not be clearer why we have to act,” Ms White said.

“Under my leadership Labor has made the significant decision to remove poker machines from Tasmanian pubs and clubs.”

Ms White said putting money in poker machines does not provide a solid return on investment. 

“Evidence shows that $1 million spent on hospitality creates 20 jobs, $1 million spent on retail creates 10 jobs, $1 million spent on poker machines creates less than three jobs,” she said.

“The $110 million lost on poker machines in Tasmanian pubs and clubs each year would be much better circulating in our local communities.”

A Rebecca White Majority Labor Government plans to phase out 2375 poker machines from 97 Tasmanian pubs and clubs, with poker machines then limited to casinos.

“This is not a change that will happen overnight, businesses will have five years to adapt to a new business model,” she said.

“The tourism and hospitality industry is booming and we regularly hear that the industry is crying out for more skilled staff.

“I’m confident that with government support, the industry and the workforce is well positioned to adapt to this change.

“The Labor party is prepared to take this stand because it is in the best interest of the health of the Tasmanian community and the health of the Tasmanian economy.”
 Ms White said her number one priority is fixing Tasmania’s health and hospital system.

“Our health system is in crisis, our system does need more beds, it needs more nurses, more doctors, more ambulances and more appointments for patients,” she said. 

“The Hodgman Liberal Government cut $210 million out of health in their first budget, this cut is on top of the $1.1 billion that Canberra cut.

“Our health services are chronically underfunded, and that underfunding has resulted in a hospital crisis which continues to deepen. 

“Under the Liberals there have been kneejerk reactions and costly short-term solutions but still no adequate forward budget provisions.”

Ms White said she is determined to repair that damage that has come from underfunding to ensure Tasmania has the best health and hospital system. 

“Yesterday I committed that a future Majority Labor Government will inject $560 million into the health system to help fix the crisis,” she said. 

“Our plan will support the opening of more hospital beds and employ up to 500 new health professionals to clear bed block, reduce waiting times and deliver more appointments and more elective surgery. 

“The only way we can take the current and growing pressure off Tasmania’s health and hospital system is to provide the resources it needs and to move it out of crisis.”

Ms White said that pressure needs to be taken off the budget by acting earlier and intervening sooner.
“We must improve the quality of life of Tasmanians by reducing preventative diseases and keeping people healthy and well in their community,” she said.

“Only Labor is talking about making serious investments in preventative health in order to reverse the trend of Tasmania being the sickest state in the country.”