Tassie Labor ‘won’t dump’ pokies policy

Labor will stand by its plan to ban poker machines from Tasmania’s pubs and clubs even if it doesn’t win the March 3 election.

The state’s opposition leader Rebecca White says the controversial policy is evidence-based and will not be dumped if her party isn’t elected to a majority government.

“We will not back away from this policy, because it’s the right thing to do for Tasmanians,” she told reporters in Hobart on Sunday, shortly after Premier Will Hodgman announced the state was heading to the polls in five weeks.

“We know that that $110 million that’s lost on poker machines in our pubs and clubs every year will be better spent in the Tasmanian community, and better spent supporting families to look after their children.”

The Liberal party has vowed to keep pokies in the state if returned to power, differentiating itself from Labor which wants them gone by 2023.

Earlier in January, Mr Hodgman said he believes Tasmanians should be able to choose if they want to participate in lawful gambling activities.

The Liberals have, however, vowed to break a monopoly held on electronic gaming machines by Federal Group.

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