Queensland Rejects Australian National Sports Lottery Proposed To Boost Olympic Funding
Queensland rejected an Australian federal government proposal to boost funding for elite athletes through a British-style national sports lottery, "warning it would further embed gambling in sport," according to Chip Le Grand of THE AUSTRALIAN. The government's "strident opposition to the lottery," first expressed during a meeting of sports ministers late last week, "pits Australia's most successful sporting state against the federal government's centrepiece policy to arrest Australia's declining performance at Olympic Games." Australian Federal Sports Minister Greg Hunt assured the states that they "would be left no worse off by a national lottery," which would compensate any losses to existing, state-based lotteries before any money is distributed toward sports programs, teams or athletes. Queensland State Sports Minister Mick de Brenni said that it was "shortsighted" to tie sports funding to gambling. De Brenni added, "I think all states would agree that sport needs a significant injection of funding from the commonwealth across all levels. Lotto is already a crowded field in Australia and there are real doubts about whether this idea would even be successful." A spokesperson for Hunt questioned how Queensland's position was "consistent" with its approval of 2,500 new "pokie" machines and unlimited gaming tables for the Queen's Wharf casino development in Brisbane. The spokesperson added, "Queenslanders would be surprised to hear the [Queensland Premier Annastacia] Palaszczuk government is backing more pokie machines but not measures to improve sport funding as Great Britain and New Zealand have already done" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/22).