Hansard Search

12 March 1991 - Current

Page 2566
6 August 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

  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
  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

  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 

Page 2567
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
  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