Tuesday 31. May, 2016

Greens Focus on Pokies in Response to Budget

The Greens and Labor have responded to Tasmania’s budget with the Greens focusing on the reliance of the government on revenue from poker machines, while Labor has focused on increasing renewable energy production following Tasmania’s energy crisis.

In their budget, the Greens announced a $9.5 million poker machine buyback scheme. The scheme would be implemented with the goal of phasing out poker machines from pubs and clubs in the state over a five year period.

“We think it is unethical for successive Tasmanian governments to be so heavily reliant on gambling revenue without making plans to transition out of that reliance,” stated Greens leader, Cassy O’Connor.

“We think Tasmania would be far better off if the Tasmanian government invested in a five year transition plan to get pokies out of pubs and clubs.”

The Greens have been pushing for phasing poker machines out of pubs and clubs for some time, pushing for the government’s inquiry into gambling in the the state to be broad enough to include references to the phasing out of the machines. However, at the time, the push by the Greens was defeated by Government and Labor. Their response to the budget has renewed this agenda.

In addition, the Greens are planning to cut funding for roads, new police officers and the state’s support for the Hawthorn AFL team to pay for a number of new investments, stating that this alternative budget would wipe out $100 million in road funding.

Labor on the other hand has detailed an ambitious goal for renewable energy production that it believes would restore Tasmania’s reputation as powerful renewable energy centre. It also promised to increase vaccination rates, invest in public transport and boost tourism infrastructure.

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