Ms Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia, today welcomed yesterday’s draft Productivity Commission report on the Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector.
Uniting Care Australia has welcomed the Draft Report on the Inquiry into Gambling released today by the Productivity Commission. This Inquiry follows up on the seminal research on gambling by the Commission in 1999. It provides a review of the gambling industry, sets out the community impacts, and provides clear advice on how to significantly reduce the pain of gambling being felt by individuals, families and communities.
UnitingCare Australia made a submission to this inquiry, on behalf of the Uniting Care network of services that work with problem gamblers. These services include gambling support services and support for individuals and families dealing with the impacts of problem gambling via Financial Counselling, Emergency Relief, Family, Relationship and Housing Support services.
UnitingCare Australia National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said, “Once again the Commission has produced a well researched and thorough investigation of this critical social issue that affects a large number of people in the community. The Commission has found that about 15% of Australian adults gamble regularly and that about 30% of these people are either problem gamblers or at ‘moderate risk’ of problem gambling.”
“The Productivity Commission has addressed the priority issues that were raised by UnitingCare Australia in its submission, and which were noted by many other community advocates. Of particular importance are:
• Strengthening services for problem gamblers, self-help tools, pre-commitment and exclusion systems;
• Strengthening gaming machine standards and making these consistent across jurisdictions;
• Introducing a shutdown period for gaming machines in all hotels and clubs that starts earlier and is of longer duration; and
• Placing greater emphasis on education and harm reduction campaigns that highlight potential future losses, make the community aware of behaviours indicative of problem gambling and encourage earlier help seeking.”
“We are asking the Commission to focus more in its final report on emerging forms of gambling activities that are high risk for problem gambling, particularly on-line gambling and sports betting.”
Ms Hatfield Dodds noted, “The Commission has suggested that even a 10% sustained reduction in gambling harm could provide a gain to society of nearly half a billion dollars annually, and several billion in the longer term, let alone the benefits for individuals and families impacted by problem gambling.”
Contact: Michael Brown 0418 916 936
UnitingCare Australia is the national agency for UnitingCare, a network service providers in over 1300 communities across Australia dedicated to providing assistance to individuals, families and communities. The UnitingCare network is one of the largest providers of community services in Australia.
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Speaking after the release of the The Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia Productivity Commission's study, National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds said “a combination of inadequate financial support and access to services is forcing vulnerable people into deeper poverty, entrenching their disadvantage, and making it increasingly difficult for them to get ahead.”
Disadvantage is dynamic. Most people who become disadvantaged are able to move out of it relatively quickly, but a small group remain disadvantaged for extended periods of time.
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“As a nation, we need to reduce barriers facing people who are at risk and experiencing disadvantage, understanding that mental health needs intersect with other core social services and supports,” National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said. “Many factors contribute to recovery, including access to good clinical treatment, a safe home, strong relationships and financial security.”