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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 2963 ..

In addition to the reform proposals set out in the parliamentary agreement, members may already be aware of the ACT government’s diversification and sustainability support fund, which was set up in 2019. The fund is jointly funded by industry and the government to provide funding to community clubs for activities and initiatives that seek to support the sustainability of clubs and to assist clubs to diversify their income to sources other than gaming machines.

This government is continuing to match industry contributions into the fund for the 2021-22 financial year, as it has since the fund’s creation. The fund is an important tool for supporting the club industry while assisting clubs to diversify away from gaming machine revenue. The club industry has demonstrated a willingness to engage with the grant process and explore innovative ways to diversify income streams.

In the last financial year, over $630,000 in funding was provided to support seven clubs to diversify away from gaming machine revenue and fund a range of initiatives, including upgrading and reopening a kitchen, constructing sheds to store golf carts, developing a strategy to diversify to alternative income streams, and contributing to a risk analysis for a venue redevelopment.

The most recent funding round closed on 17 August 2021, with grants of up to $250,000 available to help Canberra’s club industry to shift its reliance on gaming machine revenue. Applications for tier 1 funding, to a maximum of $25,000, are available to small and medium clubs and club groups and can be submitted for consideration by the board at any time, on an ongoing basis. I look forward to receiving the board’s recommendations about payments to be made from the fund for the 2021-22 financial year.

Madam Speaker, so far today, I have canvassed the extensive gaming reforms and initiatives progressed by this government since it was formed in November last year. I would like to conclude my statement to the Assembly by acknowledging that the club industry has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to take this opportunity to inform members about the COVID-19 relief measures that the government has extended from the previous government to support the club industry during this difficult period.

Clubs are eligible for a range of business support grants that the government has made available, as part of the largest single financial support package ever undertaken in the ACT’s history. On our calculation, the larger clubs would be able to apply for up to $125,000 in direct grant funding. This funding for clubs helps to meet unavoidable costs incurred during the lockdown period, alongside the income support payments going to club workers from the commonwealth. Clubs will also be eligible to apply for commercial tenancy rate relief for this and the next financial quarters, up to $10,000.

This government has also continued several measures under the COVID-19 economic survival package, established in 2020, including the gaming machine authorisation surrender incentive, to assist gaming machine licensees. Prior to 30 June 2021, licensees could access an incentive payment of $15,000 per gaming machine

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