Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (1 November) . . Page.. 4621 ..
In order to further ensure that gaming machine revenue meets our community support targets we will be introducing a higher shortfall tax. Currently, any club that fails to meet its eight per cent community contribution target pays the shortfall as tax to the territory. This legislation will increase that to a 150 per cent tax so that clubs have a direct financial incentive to make contributions to the community first. That shortfall tax will go to reducing gambling harm.
As a package the changes in this bill to the community contributions scheme will maximise returns to community groups. In addition to offering more returns to the community, this bill will strengthen protection against gambling harm. There are amendments included to provide additional enforcement and transparency measures and a higher maximum financial penalty for disciplinary action.
The maximum penalty for failure to meet the obligations of gaming machine licence holders under the Gaming Machine Act 2004 will increase from $100,000 to the higher of $1 million, 10 per cent of gross gaming machine revenue—or GGMR—from the previous 12 months or three times the benefit obtained where that amount can be determined.
An important change in this bill is that the decision about a financial penalty must also take into account any impact statement by the affected individual. This allows people who have experienced gambling harm to have a voice in the process and for the regulator to receive direct evidence about the impacts on the community. There will also be a public register of disciplinary findings against licensees.
The bill further enhances the regulatory tools available to the Gambling and Racing Commission by providing for enforceable undertakings. This is a similar approach to work health and safety and consumer laws.
These measures are part of a comprehensive package to support our local clubs and to enhance our gaming harm protections. That is why, as we committed to do in August, this bill lays the foundation for a fair, transparent path to reach 4,000 gaming machine authorisations through an incentives package.
The dates, figures, and details of the legislation implement the government's response to the club industry diversification analysis by Mr Neville Stevens AO. I am pleased to report that clubs are already engaging directly with Mr Stevens to work out voluntary reductions in their numbers of gaming machine authorisations.
We welcome the opportunity to work with clubs to strengthen and diversify their businesses, and we will continue to do more over the rest of this term. A diversification support fund will be established, funded by industry contributions based on the number of gaming machine authorisations held.
Industry contributions to the fund will be matched by government funding for the first three years. The contribution rate for the first 99 authorisations held at a club venue will be $20 per month, rising to $30 per month for each authorisation over this