Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2152 ..
MRS CARNELL (continuing):
We were pleased to see a modest increase in game and gambling taxes, although we believe that the social and economic arguments for having even higher gambling taxes are very strong.
So it would appear that in the consultations we had with various parties with regard to this budget there was overwhelming support for substantial increases in taxes. Because we do not believe that taxes should be substantially above those in New South Wales - in fact, we believe that they should be lower than in New South Wales wherever possible - we took into account the information we were given during those consultations with the club movement with regard to poker machines and other things and determined that a good way to go for the ACT community was to ensure that a one per cent levy was put on large clubs, clubs with a profit of more than $25,000 per month, to go directly into sport. I think that is an appropriate approach.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Bill, by leave, taken as a whole
MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (5.41): I move:
Page 2, lines 12 to 16, clause 4, omit paragraph (d).
I have moved to omit that paragraph in an attempt to keep this Government to its promises. The Government promised that it would not increase taxes beyond the levels in New South Wales, and here we have, in a very early revenue Bill of the Government, in its first year as a government, a total abandonment of that decision. As I said in the in-principle debate, the Labor Party will be trying to keep the Government honest. That is a near impossible task, given their track record so far. Members might recall that even the current Attorney-General said a little while ago that he could be honest when he was in opposition - presumably, not when he is in government.
The amendment I have tabled would remove the clause in the Bill that increases the tax rate on club poker machine revenue over $25,000 a month from 22.5 per cent to 23.5 per cent. This one per cent increase applies only to Canberra's local community clubs. It does not apply to commercial operators, and I find this a fairly blatant attack on our licensed club industry. What has happened is that the Government, through both the Chief Minister and the Government Whip, have tried to mislead the Canberra community into believing that the allocation of this extra tax revenue is guaranteed to go to sport. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The community has been told that the first year's revenue will go to the ACT Academy of Sport and in future years to other sporting causes, I presume to be decided upon by the Government and the Licensed Clubs Association. However, the proposed clause simply increases the tax by one per cent.