Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Budget Measures) Bill

Second reading

I rise to speak on the Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Budget Measures) Bill 2018 and commend the bill to the house. I would like to acknowledge the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and his contribution in respect of the Kangaroo Island commissioner and the work she has done.

Like a number of my colleagues, I have a number of reports that were prepared in respect of Kangaroo Island over the 16 years of the former government. I had occasion to welcome the then premier, Mr Rann, to Kangaroo Island, the birth place of the state, during the 175th anniversary of the state. He commissioned a report, called Paradise Girt by Sea. He promised that tens of millions of dollars were going to be contributed to Kangaroo Island. In the following 12 years, I think there was a walking trail built; there were some roadworks donea contribution in respect of the enhancement of some of the parks area, which take up about 40 per cent of the island; massively increased fees to access the parks; and, of course, infrastructure improvement was developed, largely to increase the revenue for the then state government.

It is disappointing, in some ways, that when the commissioner was appointed it was another expression of interest in and commitment to Kangaroo Island, which, unfortunately, even with the efforts of Ms Campana, have not really transpired. We did get a commitment of $9 million in the last couple of years of the former government, matched by another $9 million for an airstrip extension at the Kingscote Airport—the Cygnet River Airport, actually, but often known as Kingscote Airport. That was then, under the hands of the former minister for transport and infrastructure, the responsibility for the administration and project management. They allowed it to be handed over to the local council.

It went $3 million over the funds available, and guess what? The ratepayers, largely, together with state taxpayers, are picking up the mess of that. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful redevelopment. The extension of the runway has concluded and there is a new area to facilitate some expansion. Personally, I have not thought that the biggest problem for Kangaroo Island was getting people to it. We have many more thousands a year go to Kangaroo Island, in the form of international and national tourists, than the Galapagos Islands. They have a $20 billion tourism industry, why doesn't Kangaroo Island? Largely, because they do not stay for longer than a day, but sometimes overnight. Obviously, other infrastructure opportunities may be needed.

I do welcome the comments of the minister as to the acknowledgement of what is clearly the standout issue for people who live and work on Kangaroo Island—that is, the cost of the transport and freight and the water gap issues that have been referred to in every report that I have read of in my lifetime as the most significant and what he might be able to do in negotiating with his federal colleagues in that regard. I would hope to see some positive outcome because, clearly, the current federal member either has not tried or has not been successful in that regard, in even identifying the most significant issue.

I agree that the bridge option—whilst my father had a childhood dream of robbing a bank and building a bridge from Kangaroo Island to Adelaide, he said, to his visit his grandmother in Port Adelaide—will never come into fruition. It is a total fantasy. He, like others, who from time to time raise this as an option, clearly did not appreciate the significance of the passage being the most rough around Australia. Nevertheless, it was a terrific contribution in that regard, and we look forward to Kangaroo Island getting the real benefits of investment in it in the future.

I wish to address another important aspect of reform proposed in the bill, that is, the reference to dealing with gambling regulation in South Australia, particularly the amendments to the Authorised Betting Operations Act 2000. As we know, the commercial gambling environment in Australia has changed considerably in recent years. Over a number of years now, there has been the Independent Gambling Authority's charter in this state to provide for the regulatory framework in respect of gaming. There is the poker machine legacy of the former treasurer Mr Blevins under the leadership of Mr Arnold. Neither of them was there very long, so I suppose you cannot blame them entirely for what happened in the preceding years, the State Bank collapse and the desperation of the then Labor government to find a revenue stream to rebuild.

The establishment of poker machines brought a new, at the time, contemporary capacity for those who wished to bet at an entertainment and gambling outlet. I must say that it was not something favoured by my father, who was a member of this house. He actually opposed the introduction of poker machines. This is coming from a family who would bet on two flies crawling up a wall and had many farming arrangements with racehorses and the like.

Nevertheless, he was happy to cross the floor to support the Casino in a protected environment, in which there were no poker machines in the 1980s, but not to support poker machines. However, at the time it was and still is to some degree a significant forum in which gambling has been offered to the community. The Independent Gambling Authority was the protective basis upon which that umbrella of protection was provided.

The new government's initiative is to take into account the matters raised by a report of Mr Tim Anderson QC prepared in 2016. It was not released by the former government, but we have recently released it, with some redactions to deal with some commercially sensitive matters. Nevertheless, the recommendations clearly were that the regulatory regimes were complex and needed to have a significant streamlining. His recommendation was that there be the replacement of the authority with a board and that a large amount of the regulatory regime be transferred to the commissioner in respect of commercial gambling.

The proposed legislation will repeal the legislation that established the Independent Gambling Authority. There will be a replacement of the Independent Gambling Authority Act 1995 with the Gambling Administration Act 1995. Since the establishment of the authority, there have been quite significant changes in relation to options available for gambling outside gaming machines, Casino operations, on-table gambling and horseracing in various codes.

There has clearly been a decline, though, in the demand for traditional gaming machines in licensed gaming venues in favour of the increased use of online gambling applications that are easily accessible via the internet, smart phones and tablets. Of course, there is 24/7 availability, which produces a significant challenge in relation to future regulation. We have a situation where, coupled with regular advertising and incentive offers, the normalisation of online gambling is putting young and vulnerable people at significant risk of harm. As I have previously said, the biggest risk to problem gambling is online. I seek leave to continue my remarks.