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Government pokies costing exposed

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 16 Feb 2012

In Senate Estimates hearings today, the Government's reasons for rejecting $1 bet limits on poker machines were exposed as a lie. Under questioning from Greens Senator, Richard Di Natale, the Department (FAHCSIA) admitted that their $1.5 billion price tag was not based on the Productivity Commission's recommended policy.

"The most effective way to combat problem gambling is to put a one dollar bet limit on pokies. The government has rejected the Greens' proposal based on a $1.5 billion price tag. We knew that number was wrong, and today they were caught out," said Senator Di Natale.

In the Senate, the Government has previously refused to release the costings, citing "commercial in confidence" considerations.

"Today we know the real reason is that the costings were based on a lie.

"The government have costed a policy that nobody has proposed, rather than the policy recommended by the Productivity Commission and the Greens."

The Productivity Commission recommended phasing in dollar bet limits over a 5-year period and has been independently costed at less than $300 million to industry. The Government's costings, provided by the Department, were based on immediate replacement of all pokies games throughout Australia.

"Dollar bets remains the cheapest, simplest and most effective way to help problem gamblers. There's now no excuse not to get on with it."

Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600

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