AAP

Plea to Abbott to keep withdrawal limits on pokie machines

CHURCH and social services groups have called on the Abbott Government not to proceed with plans to repeal gambling reforms passed by the Gillard Government.

Bills to repeal the reforms, including ATM withdrawal limits and betting limits on pokie machines, were introduced in parliament last year.

But the Labor Party, which originally passed the reforms under pressure from crossbenchers in the minority Gillard government, has backed away from them, allowing them to pass unopposed in the House.

It is understood the Opposition will not be opposing the repeal in the Senate, despite calls from The Greens and independent Senators to block passage of the laws.

However a brief Senate inquiry into the effects of the repeal has attracted submissions from the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce and other social service groups urging the government not to repeal the pokies laws.

The taskforce, headed by Reverend Tim Costello, argued the repeal was a step backwards for protecting vulnerable gamblers.

"It sends a clear signal to both the electronic gaming machine industry and State Governments that the Federal Government has no interest in providing meaningful protections for gamblers," the church taskforce wrote.

The taskforce also wrote the intent of the repeal bill, which says it "encourages responsible gambling" was to "do nothing of the sort".

"It would be better labelled as repeal of responsible gambling measures," the submission reads.


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