Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2063 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
We do not support the Bill and we do not support imposing increased fees on raffles for clubs, scout groups, et cetera.
MS TUCKER (5.07): I was concerned to see this proposal come out of the budget, because there had not been any notice of it and it was not consistent with the Assembly committee's recommendations about how we should ensure that gambling businesses take responsibility, through contributing financially, for the negative effects of their industry. Throughout the committee inquiry there was a concern that increased taxation increased dependence on gambling revenue, which is obviously an attractive source of revenue for governments. I, too, will not be supporting this Bill.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (5.08), in reply: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 1999 provides omnibus legislation to implement a number of the Government's revenue initiatives announced in the 1999-2000 budget speech. It amends, where appropriate, the Gaming Machine Act 1987, the Lotteries Act 1964, and the Taxation Administration Act 1999.
Comment was made by Mr Quinlan with regard to gaming machines, and by Ms Tucker as well. I found it really interesting. It is certainly true that bigger clubs, ones with an annual gross gaming machine revenue over $600,000, will pay a 25 per cent tax rate in the ACT, which includes a one per cent levy which goes to the Academy of Sport. Hotels pay a 35 per cent tax rate. Interestingly, even with the new increases, the top tax rate for ACT clubs compares favourably with the ones for other jurisdictions. For example, the larger clubs in New South Wales pay a tax rate of 26.25 per cent. The rates in Victoria and Queensland are 33.33 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively. So, it is 45 per cent in Queensland, 33.3 per cent in Victoria and 25 per cent in the ACT. It is also very interesting to note that in those States there is no monopoly for clubs.
Moving on to other matters in the Bill, I was interested that Mr Quinlan made some comments with regard to lotteries and applications for trade promotion lotteries. I think it is important to note that for the sort of thing that Mr Quinlan was talking about - the girl guides and the smaller clubs - the increase is very minor, if anything. In fact, if the total prize for a lottery is under $500 - I would have to say that in most cases I suspect that is what Mr Quinlan was talking about - the fee is zero, and for $501 to $1,000 it increases from $32 to $40. Is that really going to break the bank? The major increases are not at the bottom, where there is no fee at all, but right at the top where the prize is worth more than $50,000. There are not too many of those in the small local clubs, I would have thought.
Mr Humphries: Progressive taxation, would you say, Chief Minister?
MS CARNELL: One could say that it is actually very progressive; you are quite right. Similarly, with regard to the increases in fees for trade promotions, where the total prize is under $1,000 the increase is from $32 to $40. It is certainly true that where the prize is over $200,000 the increase is quite large, going from $328 to $2,000. There is no doubt about that at all. It is hitting at precisely the end of the market that can afford to pay and, I have to say, at the end of the market where the cost of overseeing these sorts of promotions can be quite high.