Submission to the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform Inquiry into pre-commitments scheme 2011

The St Vincent de Paul Society seeks to shape a more just and compassionate Australia. The Society seeks a more equitable social order. Our international constitution states the “The Society is concerned not only with alleviating need but also with identifying the unjust structures that cause it.” The St Vincent de Paul Society must struggle for justice, rather than simply delivering charity.

We are constituted as an organisation of ordinary Australians who stand with the people who have been pushed to the margins of Australian society. We are committed to an Australia characterised by fairness and inclusion. We have long advocated for significant structural change in order to address the causes of social and economic inequality. We also contend, from our experience at the coalface, that a nation such as ours is well-resourced to put in place measures to ameliorate many of the factors contributing to, or exacerbating, social exclusion and marginalisation.

Problem gambling is an example of one of these factors. The St Vincent de Paul Society is deeply concerned about the negative impact of the Poker Machine Industry, especially on low to middle income households. This is well documented: “The harms from problem gambling include suicide, depression, relationship breakdown, lowered work productivity, job loss, bankruptcy and crime.