The head of Tasmania’s Aboriginal Medical Service has welcomed a state Labor policy to remove all electronic gaming machines from Tasmanian pubs and clubs by 2023.
Labor announced the policy on Wednesday, which would see 2300 machines stripped from venues around the state but allow them to remain in casinos.
The policy includes a $55 million package, most of which would be used to assist affected venues in transitioning away from pokies.
Aboriginal Medical Service Manager Raylene Foster says the announcement is “welcomed by the Aboriginal community” and those working on the ground have seen the “massive impact and destruction” on families caused by problem gambling.
In the Tasmanian Audit Office’s latest report on gambling, it found players spent $114.2mn on poker machines in the 2015-16 financial year and estimated the social costs of problem gambling to be at least $100mn.