The Alliance met with a small (COVID safe) group of supporters on Tuesday, March 16, at NSW Parliament House, to continue our pressure campaign on all MPs to support genuine reform of the gambling industry in this state.
So far, party leaders have received over 1000 emails from supporters of the Alliance and through the GetUp Campaign By Me petition site of Anna Bardsley.
Individual key backbenchers have received hundreds more very specific letters, demanding they stand up for the community to protect us from harm, and stop organised crime using our clubs and pubs for money laundering.
This story started last year, when the Minister and Department released a consultation draft of the Gambling Harm Minimisation Bill which contained these key features:
- Obliging venues to actually check for identification so they can exclude people who have taken out self-exclusion deeds as part of their recovery, and if the venue doesn’t take all reasonable steps, face a fine
- Linking all the many self-exclusion registers together, to make a working system
- Provide a pathway for families to seek exclusion as an intervention for a loved one in a crisis
- Upskill venue staff in advanced Responsible Conduct of Gambling
At that point, the industry set its hair on fire at the thought of reasonable modest reform. As part of that conflagration, the Minister suggested one way of backing up self-exclusion was to introduce a universal card that was linked to exclusion registers.
That card idea has taken on a life of its own, which is overshadowing the other reforms.
We went to the first sitting day of the March session to remind MPs that reform is needed across the sector. Our supporters wrote their own reasons for supporting reform, and we recorded several heartbreaking stories of harm that we will share across the coming weeks.
We wrapped the day when Liesl Tesch AM, ALP member for Gosford, came down to the lobby to meet our group. She spoke frankly of the barriers to reform, and the urgent need to address them.