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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 1 November 2018) . . Page.. 4620 ..

I am pleased to introduce the Gaming Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 into the Assembly. This bill represents a significant milestone in delivering on our commitments to bring forward stronger gambling harm protections, and to promote a diverse, sustainable and community-focused clubs sector.

This government values its partnership with clubs and with the community. We have worked closely with the industry, community advocates, unions and individuals who have lived experience of gambling harm to develop these reforms. This government believes that we can reduce the number of gaming machine authorisations, achieve stronger harm minimisation and develop a stronger clubs sector all at the same time. That is because we know that our clubs are places to support their local communities through sport, culture, and through social connections and are not just places to gamble.

This government’s view is that reliance on gaming machines as a primary source of revenue is not sustainable. Many clubs themselves recognise this and are engaging with the government right now to take up incentives that will promote new business models and reduce gaming machine numbers at the same time. Today’s legislation will maximise community benefits from gaming revenue, it will provide more robust harm minimisation rules, and it will legislate the government’s commitment to implement the clubs industry diversification analysis report.

A key purpose of this bill is to implement the outcomes of the government’s review of the community contributions scheme. This bill will maximise returns to the community by adding an additional 0.8 per cent levy on net gaming machine revenue. Half of that amount will go to gambling harm minimisation initiatives. The other half will go to the Chief Minister’s charitable fund, which means that charities that do not have an established relationship with clubs will get funding from gaming revenue. This amount will also apply to for-profit hotels which until now have had no community contributions obligations.

Support for community groups will also be strengthened through new rules for in-kind contributions. For all large clubs, that is, those with turnover of more than $4 million in gaming machine revenue, things like room hire will only be able to account for a quarter of their eight per cent obligation. This change will ensure that monetary support for charities is maximised through the scheme.

Earlier this year I tabled a response to an Auditor-General report on the community contributions scheme and this bill also delivers reforms to address that report. The definitions of what can count for a community contribution have been strengthened, and we are consulting on the technical aspects of those categories right now. Our policy goal is to ensure that junior sport, charities and other community-focused efforts are supported even more through gaming machine revenue.

There will be a new requirement for clubs to make the community aware of the clubs community purpose contributions and for the clubs to consider community need when making a contribution. This provides transparency for members of the community.

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