Social service groups have welcomed a commitment from Labor to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs over five years should it win government in majority.
The party has assembled a $55 million funding package for the task which includes $20 million in support for venues who surrender the machines before 2023 and a $25 million low-interest loan pool to allow the businesses to transition.
There will be $4 million offered for staff retraining and development, $500,000 in grants for sporting clubs, and a $5 million fund for clubs, like RSL clubs, to access after 2023 to pay for services to the community.
The party has deflected political pressure over months to release its policy, saying it wanted to thoroughly consult with the community.
Labor leader Rebecca White said more than 70 pubs and clubs had been approached.
She said Federal Hotels, who has an exclusivity license for the operation of poker machines in venues outside its casinos, would be given notice this deed would not be extended past 2023.
Ms White described the policy as a “once-in-a-generation chance to make the right decision”.
Premier Will Hodgman lambasted the policy, saying hotel operators would not be able in invest in businesses or retain jobs and that the compensation scheme would impact the budget.
Jannette Armstrong, from hospitality union United Voice, said there needed to be a balance between jobs and community concerns
“We look forward to reviewing the details of the transition package … to ensure that any hospitality workers affected by this policy would be adequately supported,” she said.
Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Michael Bailey said the organisation questioned the outcomes of the policy.
He said most players enjoyed poker machines without issue and was concerned the policy would only push problem gamblers towards online gaming forms.
Anglicare’s Social Action and Research Centre manager Meg Webb said research indicated if poker machines were less accessible, people were less likely to use them.
Ms Webb said poker machine gambling was linked to family breakdown, financial hardship, crime, and health problems.
TasCOSS chief executive Kym Goodes said the announcement signaled “meaningful change was in the air”.
“This announcement and the clear and genuine consultation that preceded it is an acknowledgement that our political representatives recognise that they are meant to do just that: represent the views of the people of Tasmania,” she said.