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Dunne needs to front on risks identified over PGF funding cu

21 May 2014

Dunne needs to front on risks identified over PGF funding cut

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne needs to explain what would have happened to clients being cared for by Problem Gambling Foundation if the Government hadn’t continue funding it until February next year, Green Party gambling spokesperson Denise Roche said today.

The Ministry of Health reached an agreement with the Problem Gambling Foundation that that will see its funding continue until February next year. It was due to lose most of its $5 million Government funding on July 1 2014. This would have meant thousands of clients moving to work with a new provider.

“Official Information Act documents released to the Green Party show that the Ministry of Health was concerned there was a big risk around the transition of clients currently being cared for by the Problem Gambling Foundation,” Ms Roche said today.

“Transitioning thousands of clients that were currently receiving counselling through the Problem Gambling Foundation was always going to be extremely difficult.

“Peter Dunne as the Minister responsible has overseen a flawed and rushed process that failed to take into account the trauma and mental wellbeing of thousands of people with gambling problems.

“This Government has shown once again that it does not care for those affected by problem gambling.

“As it increases gambling opportunities through its SkyCity deal it is failing to competently manage services for those affected by problem gambling,” Ms Roche said.

The Green Party intends to reduce the harm caused by pokies through a package of harm minimisation measures including mandatory pre-commitment cards and restricting direct advertising.

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