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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has released images of the dangerous flaunting of physical distancing laws by a Woolworth-owned hotel in Hobart, amid widespread reports of COVID law-breaking in poker machine venues across the country.

“Yesterday a video was recorded at the Carlyle Hotel in Derwent Park. It shows poker machine users sitting side by side, despite the clear direction by the Tasmanian Government that 1.5m physical distancing should be enforced,” Mr Wilkie said. “My office has also received eye-witness reports of similar practices at other venues, including at Wrest Point Casino in Hobart and at venues interstate.

“The ignoring of critically important health directions by the Carlyle Hotel is risking the lives of Tasmanians and risking a second wave in the State. We know that poker machines are dangerous enough as it is, without putting everyone’s health at risk by failing to ensure physical distancing.”

The Carlyle Hotel is owned by the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group. This is part of the Woolworths Group and the largest operator of poker machines in Australia. An announcement by Woolworths last year that it was divesting itself of poker machines came to nothing. It was just spin.

“Not irrelevant to today’s revelation are yesterday’s media reports that Essential Traveller status was awarded to construction workers for the Crowne Plaza project in Hobart. The development is by Kalis Group, which is a major donor to the Tasmanian Liberal Party and one of Tasmania’s largest operators of poker machines.

“In my opinion, frankly the whole thing stinks.”