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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 3 December 2020) . . Page.. 137 ..

(5) notes also that through the Covid-19 pandemic and associated necessary club and gaming room closures, the ACT Government stepped in to provide significant financial support to community clubs by:

(a) providing a six-month rebate of their fixed water and sewerage charges;

(b) making an additional $1.5 million contribution to the Clubs Diversification Fund, distributing $3.3 million from the Diversification and Sustainability Support Fund to fund workers’ award wages, and allowing clubs to claim staff wages and COVID 19-related community aid as community contributions;

(c) waiving or refunding gaming machine tax liabilities for the first quarter of 2020; and

(d) paying $15 000 for every gaming machine license voluntarily surrendered, to help with clubs’ immediate cashflow issues;

(6) notes that problem gambling, including poker machines, can cause significant harm to people, their families and communities. Many clubs are highly dependent on poker machine revenue and there is a need for new financial models for clubs that do not rely on people experiencing gambling harm;

(7) notes that the 2018 Government Response to the ACT Club Industry Diversification Support Analysis Recommendations (the Stevens Review), committed to no further compulsory surrender processes once 4,000 authorisations was reached, as well as not to change the key elements of the trading scheme until 2025;

(8) notes that the current approach of Government is to work collaboratively with clubs to diversify revenue streams and to provide incentives to encourage clubs to go pokies-free;

(9) notes that to support clubs and reduce gambling harm, the government will prioritise implementation of the gambling reform measures agreed in the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement which commits to:

(a) establish a Community Clubs Ministerial Advisory Council with government, industry and unions to build a long-term, sustainable clubs sector in the ACT;

(b) target a further reduction in the number of electronic gaming machine licences in the ACT to 3 500 by 1 July 2025, and support this through the introduction of incentives for Clubs to consider, including additional incentives to move to zero machines within a venue location;

(c) establish a rigorous, across-venue self-exclusion regime across the ACT for people experiencing harm from gaming, with significant penalties for breaches;

(d) match or exceed any further harm reduction gaming reforms commenced in NSW, such as cashless gaming;

(e) introduce the harm reduction measures of $5 bet limits and $100 load-up limits following a thorough review and transitional plan to manage impacts on clubs, particularly smaller clubs that upgrade machines less regularly, by the end of 2022;

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