FAMILIES TO GET INTERVENTION RIGHTS FOR PROBLEM GAMBLERS

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NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley says Labor will act when Parliament resumes next month to introduce legislation to allow families to have a family member banned from poker machine venues if they believe they have a serious problem.

An independent expert panel would decide if a ban should be imposed, based on all available evidence.

As things stand, a club or pub cannot ban a member even if they are asked to do that by a concerned family member. They can talk to the member and their relatives on what help is available but cannot take further action.

Mr. Foley said that families are best placed to decide if a member has a serious problem. They see the erratic and potentially destructive behaviour and mood changes and should be encouraged to intervene – before a crisis point is reached.

Mr. Foley said Labor will:

  • Offer the option of self-exclusion first
  • Allow families to apply for exclusion orders
  • All reporting to the independent assessment panel will be anonymous
  • Training provided for club or pub staff
  • Licensees and staff can use reasonable force to prevent a self-exclusion participant from entering a
    nominated area
  • Allow orders for mandatory counselling
  • Create a register of exclusion orders accessible to pubs and clubs

Multi-venue exclusions to apply for up to three years

Mr. Foley has discussed this matter with former South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill who delivered
Family Protection Orders in that state.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Allowing families to apply for exclusion orders will put another tool in the toolkit to assist problem
gamblers.

“There have been several public inquiries, calls from clubs and continuing reports of tragic consequences of
problem gambling in the media. Labor will act when Parliament resumes next month. We support third-party
exclusion and mandatory counselling for gamblers at risk of causing harm to themselves or other family
members.

"The process would mean reaching out to the problem gambler first and offering them the option of self exclusion
and therapeutic intervention. Third party exclusion is a last resort.

"Despite receiving a formal report into the problem and promising to have a scheme in operation by 2017 the
NSW government has taken no further action. Labor will. This is a problem that affects many families. Our
policy has the support of families. It is time to act.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Gaming and Racing Minister Michael Daley

“Problem gambling has many profound effects starting with the gambler themselves and then rapidly
widening to including family members, especially where children are involved. We want to see family
members empowered to help problem gamblers – and allow venues to respond to family concerns in a
structured way.

"At every stage the anonymity of the complainant is protected. The only intention is to get help for the
gambler, with options, advice, and action.

"The expert panel will have expertise in psychology, the law and community family services.”