12 March 1991 - Current
GAMBLING AND LIQUOR LEGISLATION FURTHER AMENDMENT BILL 2014
6 August 2014
GAMBLING AND LIQUOR LEGISLATION FURTHER AMENDMENT BILL 2014 Second reading Mr O'BRIEN (Treasurer) -- I move: That this bill be now read a second time. Speech as follows incorporated into Hansard in accordance with resolution of house: Since coming to government in 2010, the coalition government has been working to implement our comprehensive plan to restore integrity, probity and responsibility to the forefront of gambling regulation in Victoria and to implement our commitments made in the Victorian Liberal-Nationals coalition's plan for gaming and liquor licensing. The coalition government has successfully established a combined regulator for liquor and gambling, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, reducing unnecessary duplication and red tape for industry. We have established the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, funded with a record $150 million over four years, placing Victoria at the forefront of reducing gambling-related harm. We have also worked with industry stakeholders to transition to the new gambling industry structure while reducing red tape and simplifying the operation of the legislation. This bill continues to build on this important work by amending the Gambling Regulation Act 2003, the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 and the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation Act 2011. The bill contains a number of important measures which will significantly reduce unnecessary burden on Victorian businesses without undermining the objectives of the gambling legislation. Notably, the bill removes the requirement for Victorian businesses to obtain a permit from the VCGLR to conduct a trade promotion lottery. Trade promotion lotteries are designed to promote businesses. Each year, thousands of applications to conduct trade promotion lotteries are received and permits are issued by the VCGLR to businesses. Trade promotion lotteries can currently be conducted without a permit if the total prize pool is below $5000. The bill will remove the requirement to obtain a permit for all trade promotion lotteries, resulting in a significant saving for both small and large businesses. It is important to note that existing conditions that protect consumers, including limitations on entry prices, restrictions on trade promotion lotteries and gaming machine play and standard terms and conditions for trade promotion lotteries will continue to apply. Businesses conducting trade promotion lotteries must also still comply with Australian Consumer Law. The coalition government is focused on implementing its commitment to require precommitment to be available on all gaming machines in Victoria by 2015-16. The bill provides the power for the minister to specify standard terms for the arrangements between venue operators and the precommitment provider. This will reduce the administrative burden on venues by obviating the need for individual commercial negotiations between venue operators and the precommitment provider. The bill also provides for the period of registration or licensing of a bookmaker, bookmaker's key employee, bingo centre operator and commercial raffle organiser to be extended from 5 to 10 years. This is consistent with the period of a range of other licences under the gambling legislation and will reduce the regulatory burden on those businesses. The bill provides that authorised deposit-taking institutions may possess and dispose of gaming machines and gaming equipment by way of security under a financial agreement. This will assist venue operators entering into financial arrangements with financial institutions by removing the requirement for financial institutions to be listed on the roll of manufacturers, suppliers and testers in order to repossess gaming machines in the event of a financial default by the venue operator. The bill also includes amendments designed to maintain and strengthen the integrity of the liquor and gaming sectors. Mr Des Gleeson, former chairman of stewards for Racing Victoria, was commissioned by the Victorian coalition government to conduct a review of sports betting regulation and to provide advice on measures to enhance the existing regulatory regime. The bill includes amendments that will strengthen public confidence in the integrity of sporting events and sports betting. The bill introduces new requirements for the monitoring of the integrity mechanisms of sports controlling bodies by the VCGLR. Currently the VCGLR has a range of monitoring functions for licences issued under the gambling and liquor legislation as well as a role in approving sports controlling bodies. The bill provides an explicit role for the VCGLR to monitor any integrity mechanisms introduced by a sports controlling body. This will assist in ensuring that sports controlling bodies are appropriately enforcing their own integrity mechanisms. The bill will provide that a sports controlling body can make an application to the VCGLR for the banning of a particular bet type. In the event that a sports controlling body believes that a bet type or contingency carries integrity risks or is not in the public interest, the sports controlling body will be able to apply to the VCGLR to consider banning the bet type or contingency. Any ban of a sports betting contingency made by the VCGLR will apply to all sports betting providers. The bill also increases the penalty for offering betting on events without an agreement with the relevant sports controlling body in place, assisting to ensure that sporting
bodies receive a fair share of the revenues from betting on sports. The bill also provides for mutual recognition of sports controlling bodies approved in another Australian jurisdiction provided that the approval process in that jurisdiction is equivalent to that in Victoria. This will reduce the burden on sports controlling bodies seeking approval in multiple jurisdictions. The bill amends the maximum commission rate that can be deducted under betting rules in relation to pooling arrangements with international totalisators for wagering events that are conducted outside Australia from 25 per cent to 40 per cent. This will enable the wagering and betting licensee to increase the range of products offered by facilitating entry into shared pools with operators in jurisdictions such as New Zealand, South Africa and Singapore. Notably, this will not affect the maximum commission rate for domestic totalisators. The bill provides for the collection of unclaimed money from gaming machines to occur in accordance with the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 rather than the more complicated requirements of the Unclaimed Money Act 2008. This is consistent with the treatment of unclaimed money for other gambling licensees, and will not remove the right of patrons to recover any money owed. The bill also clarifies the method for calculating gaming machine taxation to make it clear that tax is calculated on the basis of the number of gaming machines connected to the monitoring system. It is important to note that this amendment does not change how the tax has been or will be calculated, and does not increase the tax payable by venue operators. The bill resolves an inconsistency in the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 to reflect the intention of the provision that clubs that fail to lodge a community benefit statement or fail to make the required community contribution are required to pay tax at the rate for hotel gaming machines. Additionally, the bill modernises existing requirements, removes obsolete requirements and makes a number of minor and technical amendments to the gambling legislation. One of the objectives of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 is to contribute to the development of the live music industry. The coalition government is strongly supportive of developing Victoria's live music industry, establishing the live music roundtable to provide a forum to discuss liquor licensing issues that affect the live music industry. The impact of planning and amenity issues on their business is a primary concern for the live music industry. This bill contains an amendment that demonstrates the coalition government's commitment to the Victorian live music industry and builds on other reforms in this area. In considering any complaint about whether a live music venue is affecting the amenity of the area in which the licensed premises is situated, the VCGLR will have a legislative obligation to consider whether the licensee was operating before any change occurred to the local area which raises concern about amenity. The bill creates a new power for the minister to require certain liquor licensees and employees to undertake advanced responsible service of alcohol training. The training will better equip late night licensees with the knowledge and skills to help reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm. It is intended that all new late-trading licensees will be required to undertake advanced RSA training, as well as any existing late-night licensees that incur a demerit point for a relevant breach of the regulatory framework. The Victorian Auditor-General's report on the Effectiveness of Justice Strategies in Preventing and Reducing Alcohol-Related Harm estimated that the annual cost of alcohol-related harm in Victoria is $4.3 billion. The report recommended the collection and analysis of alcohol sales data. The bill includes amendments that deliver on the Auditor-General's recommendation by providing for the collection of alcohol sales data from large wholesalers on an annual basis. The bill makes it clear that these provisions will not apply to small businesses, such as small breweries, distillers and winemakers, and also will not apply to a range of liquor licence holders that do not engage in wholesale sales, such as clubs, hotels, packaged liquor licensees and late night licensees, and those holding general and on-premises licences. This will ensure that small businesses will not be subject to this additional compliance requirement. It is intended that the definition of small business will be determined in consultation with industry, the Minister for Small Business and the Minister for Mental Health, and set out in a ministerial order. Industry will also be consulted during development of the regulations which will specify how the information will be reported, collected and used. These amendments bring Victoria into line with other Australian jurisdictions that already collect this data, such as Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Consistent with the objectives of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, these amendments will assist in the development, implementation and evaluation of policy relating to the regulation and consumption of liquor. The bill allows the Governor in Council to appoint sessional commissioners of the VCGLR who will be able to undertake limited functions under the relevant legislation. This will increase the flexibility and efficiency of the new combined regulator. Finally, the bill makes a number of amendments to assist to simplify and streamline the operation of gambling and liquor legislation. I commend the bill to the house. Debate adjourned on motion of Mr SCOTT (Preston). Debate adjourned until Wednesday, 20 August.
TOBACCO AMENDMENT BILL 2014 Statement of compatibility Ms WOOLDRIDGE (Minister for Mental Health) tabled following statement in accordance with Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006: In accordance with section 28 of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (the charter act), I make this statement of compatibility with respect to the Tobacco Amendment Bill 2014 (the bill). In my opinion, the bill, as introduced to the Legislative Assembly, is compatible with the human rights protected by the charter act. I base my opinion on the reasons outlined in this statement. Overview of bill The purpose of the bill is to prohibit smoking in specified outdoor areas, to prohibit smoking in the vicinity of pedestrian access points to certain places, to increase the penalty in section 11A of the principal act and to amend the powers of inspectors in relation to monitoring compliance with, and investigating possible contravention of, certain provisions prohibiting smoking in outdoor areas. It is intended that the new smoking bans will further limit exposure to second-hand smoke, denormalise smoking, minimise littering and improve public amenity by providing for more smoke-free areas in Victoria. Human rights issues A charter right that is relevant to the bill is the right to privacy which is contained in section 13 of the charter act. Clauses 12 and 13 of the bill clarify the circumstances in which inspectors may enter and search premises with consent and enter premises which are open to the public. Clause 14 of the bill inserts a new section 36EA into the Tobacco Act 1987 (the principal act). This section empowers inspectors to enter school premises and premises where education and care services or children's services are provided in order to monitor compliance with or investigate a breach of a smoking ban which applies to outdoor areas of those premises. The right to privacy is relevant to the new section 36EA. The bill clearly defines the circumstances in which an inspector may enter premises without a warrant and provides that an inspector may only exercise the power if the occupier of the premises consents to the entry and the inspector is accompanied by either the occupier or a person acting on the occupier's behalf. An occupier's consent must be informed and acknowledged in writing. These safeguards ensure that the interference with the right to privacy is kept to the minimum necessary to allow for inspectors to monitor compliance with and enforce the new outdoor smoking bans. Hon. Mary Wooldridge, MP Minister for Mental Health