Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

National Advisory Body on Gambling Announced

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Amanda Vanstone, today announced the establishment of the National Advisory Body on Gambling.

“The Commonwealth Government is committed to preventing problem gambling and its negative social impacts on the community. This new advisory body is just one of the steps the Commonwealth is taking to address this difficult and pressing social problem,” Senator Vanstone said.

“Problem gambling affects around 2 per cent of the Australian adult population, and has devastating consequences for individuals, families and communities. Problem gambling can lead to family breakdown, financial crisis, depression, homelessness, suicide and crime.

“It is critical that we make progress on helping the people already affected, and preventing the creation of a new generation of problem gamblers.

“This new advisory body will bring together the views of both the community and the gambling industry so we can develop a truly national approach to this issue. I’m looking forward to working with this very experienced group of people and developing responses to problem gambling.”

The National Advisory Body will be chaired by Mr Tony Ayers, AC, a former Secretary of the Commonwealth Departments of Community Services and Health, Aboriginal Affairs, Social Security and Defence. Other members of the Advisory Body will include:

  • The Reverend Tim Costello, President of the Baptist Union of Australia and member of the Inter-Church Gambling Task Force;
  • Mr Grant Bowie, Senior Vice President – Australia and General Manager of Conrad Jupiters, who is also President of the Australian Casino Association, and Chairman of Queensland’s Responsible Gambling Advisory Committee;
  • Reverend Chris Jones, Director of Anglicare Tasmania, which includes amongst the services that it offers financial and family relationship counselling for problem gamblers and their families;
  • Mr Warren Wilson, Managing Director of TAB Limited;
  • Ms Mary Marquass, Gold Coast Manager, Relationships Australia, and Addictions/Financial Counsellor in the BreakEven Service for Gamblers and their Families. Ms Marquass is also the President of the National Association for Gambling Studies;
  • Mr Richard Mulcahy, the National Executive Director of the Australia Hotels Association; and
  • Mr Mark Fitzgibbon, Executive Director of Clubs Australia and New Zealand.