Tasmania political parties discuss removal of poker machines from pubs and clubs

Labor leader Rebecca White has refused to say whether the party would offer compensation packages to pubs and clubs for the removal of poker machines if it wins the next election.

The government in Parliament on Tuesday goaded Ms White by moving a motion to suspend standing orders to force her to deliver a 20-minute speech on Labor’s gaming policy.

This motion was supported by the Greens.

Earlier in Question Time, Treaurer Peter accused the party of consulting with pub and club owners on whether $1 million compensation packages would be sufficient for the removal of poker machines from their venues.

Ms White failed to articulate a policy position during Parliament but told media later that the party’s policy would be formed when the parliamentary inquiry into future gaming in Tasmania was concluded.

She said until that process was finished and a report was presented to Parliament, Labor would not rule in or out the removal of poker machines in pubs and clubs or compensation offers to do so.

“There have been a number of submissions that have been made and we have been talking with the industry about some of those submissions,” Ms White said.

“I think that is entirely appropriate. They are key stakeholders and we need to make sure we are engaging with them so we can understand what our policy setting should be.”

“We’ve talked to them about a lot of different matters. Of course, there has been discussion about whether or not compensation is part of that conversation.”

Mr Gutwein said the government would refine its policy on gaming once the inquiry’s report was released.

“But we will not be shutting down pubs and clubs," he said.

"Pubs and clubs rely on the income they receive from gaming."

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said there should be “transitional arrangements” for pubs and clubs if poker machines were removed.

“There are some small pubs and clubs particularly that will feel an economic impact,” she said.