June - Club Victoria Inc.
A MessageFrom The MinisterHon. Edward O’Donohue, MLCIam deeply honoured to have been appointed Minister forLiquor and Gaming Regulation in the Victorian CoalitionGovernment. It has quickly become apparent to me what anexciting and dynamic sector it is. The Coalition recognises theneed to balance the sector’s undoubted economic importance toVictoria with the challenges which exist today, and those whichwill arise in the future.Victoria’s sporting and community clubs make a huge contributionto our state. The gambling industry is a major employer andgenerates substantial revenue for community projects and otheruses. More than that, though, clubs are often the lifeblood ofcommunities – not just as employers, but also as social hubs.Much of the very necessary reform the Coalition was electedto carry out has been implemented and I pay tribute to mypredecessor, and now Treasurer, Michael O’Brien.We have established the Victorian Commission for Gambling andLiquor Regulation to help streamline the regulatory burdens thatclubs face in running a venue.As a Liberal-National Coalition Government, we know just howimportant it is to business to reduce the red tape burden, to havebureaucracy get out of the way as much as possible.The Government recently issued a Statement of Expectations tothe VCGLR about how it should reduce red tape to make it easierto do business in Victoria. I am confident and expect that this willresult in appreciable benefits to clubs over the next financial year.The Government has also moved quickly to work with industryto facilitate a smooth transition to the new gambling industrystructure. This work will result in increased benefits flowing backto local communities through clubs.I take this opportunity to note the great cooperation theGovernment has received from the sector, and Clubs Victoria, intrying to make the implementation of our reforms as smooth aspossible.Alongside the reforms we have introduced to strengthen theindustry, we have also substantially strengthened Victoria’sresponse to problem gambling.I believe that the Government has a role in both protecting thecommunity from problem gambling, and recognising that for manyin the community, gambling is a legitimate form of entertainment.The Government’s objective is to promote a responsible, sustainableand transparent gambling industry.For many Victorians, attending the state’s pubs and clubs to play thepokies is a legitimate form of entertainment, and enjoying a quietbeer is often part of that pleasure.As a Government one of the most valuable things we can do to helpproblem gamblers is to put in place measures to reduce or preventrisky gambling behaviour.We will be the first state in Australia to introduce voluntary precommitmenttechnology to gaming machines, to help gamblersset limits as to how much they can afford to spend on gambling.This, coupled with the removal of automatic teller machines fromgaming venues, means that patrons can make considered choicesabout their gambling behaviour.We have also made an unprecedented $150 million investment intackling problem gambling, through the Victorian ResponsibleGambling Foundation.The running of a club also carries with it responsibilities that gobeyond gaming.Clubs now have more powers against drunk or disorderly patronswho may have a negative effect on other patrons who are justtrying to enjoy a night out. The penalties for drunk and disorderlybehaviour have more than doubled.Barring orders have also been introduced to enable licensees andpolice to bar troublesome patrons from entering or remainingin a venue for a specified period if they are drunk, violent orquarrelsome, or if they present a safety risk to themselves or others.These changes are also about giving venue operators more flexibilityin determining the best way forward for themselves and theirpatrons in what can often be difficult situations.I am confident that, with the Coalition Government’s reforms andyour dedication to your venues, the future is bright for Victoria’ssporting and community clubs.I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible as I movearound our state in the course of my new duties.CLUBConnect May/June 2013 3