Former ACT attorney-general Gordon Ramsay has a new job advocating for gambling law reform, and says he will not shy away from criticising the territory when it's not doing enough to keep gamblers safe.
Mr Ramsay, who has been appointed chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, said there was more every Australian jurisdiction could do to reduce gambling harm.
"We need to be looking at bet limits. We need to be looking at limiting the hours where poker machines are played. We need to be looking at the load-up limits that you can do, which not only has an impact on the amount of people can lose but it's a key issue around integrity and money laundering," Mr Ramsay said.
Mr Ramsay said the Covid pandemic had pushed issues of gambling harm to the forefront of people's minds.
"What I want to make sure is that any of the reforms that are being talked about in different jurisdictions are done well. We need to make sure people are protected in this space; it's too important for us to not get right," he said.
Mr Ramsay, who was elected to the ACT's parliament in 2016 before immediately entering the cabinet, said he was proud of the territory's work to reduce the number of poker machines in use.
"I think every jurisdiction can be doing more. And, as I say, I'm really pleased with what has happened over the last few years. There's some really good things in the parliamentary agreement for this particular term of government - that were outside any of my influences," he said.
The former ACT government minister said Covid contact tracing technology showed more could be done to strengthen self exclusion zones for at-risk gamblers.
"Clubs organisations right across Australia have become much better at being able to know who's in a building and who's in what part of a building at any stage, because of tracing," Mr Ramsay said.
"That's a good lead in to work going on in the self-exclusion register as well."
Mr Ramsay said it was important for governments to support community clubs as they transitioned away from poker machines, and the community should seize the moment when clubs consider moving away from gambling revenue.
The Hellenic Club last month said it was considering a pokie-free future as part of redevelopment plans for its Woden site, after receiving a government grant designed to help community clubs explore options to diversify their revenue.
Mr Ramsay said clubs looking to move away from poker machines was positive, but it should not mean any relaxation in efforts to lessen gambling harm.
"We can't assume that because there's a number of clubs that want to move out of poker machines that the issues around gambling harm simply fade," he said.
Mr Ramsay, who lost his seat to Liberal newcomer Peter Cain by less than 200 votes, was hand-picked for a temporary job in Chief Minister Andrew Barr's office, four months after he lost his seat.
Mr Ramsay was awarded a contract to work on a review of the ACT's anti-discrimination laws and human rights compatibility processes.
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