Page 2106 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 21 June 2005

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Gaming Machine Amendment Bill 2005 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 5 May 2005, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.15) The Liberal opposition does not have any real problems with the legislation. On the superficial side it seems that this is a streamlining of measures for the clubs. It will cut down on their paperwork and there will be a net gain, or at least a net doing away with an embuggerance of paperwork for clubs. I think they are the issues. I suppose we can say something constructive.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.16): I thank my colleague Mrs Dunne. I was in another place and I managed to get here.

From discussions with the clubs, indeed with the gaming commission, I am pleased to say that it would appear that the removal of the GST credit scheme is fairly revenue neutral. For smaller clubs there might be a slight benefit. For bigger clubs there might be initially a slight increase. But the reduction in paperwork will be very beneficial to the clubs. That does not seem to be a particular problem.

There is, however, a big problem in other areas of gaming. This bill will enable the budget to be actioned ultimately in terms of an increase in revenue to start from 1 July 2007. I just raise this issue because it is important. This bill is not going to have a huge impact on clubs. It may actually lead to some improvements and is not really, it seems, necessarily going to hurt clubs. But I come back to that increase, and that actually will cause some significant problems for clubs.

The Treasurer—this is also in the explanatory statement to the bill—stated that when the tax is increased from 1 July 2007, some $5.3 million will be raised. It was either in the Treasurer’s speech or in the explanatory statement. I noticed that somewhere. Two years is a long time. A lot of water can go under the bridge in two years, and I think it will. But already we are seeing, and we saw it last week, the clubs expressing a lot of concern about a drop in revenue. There will be a drop of some $6 million in poker machine revenue as a result of reforms taken in this place by most of us, I must say, in the act that was passed last year.

In addition, some quite controversial reforms to smoking legislation that were passed in this Assembly are not too far around the corner and will impact on clubs. I think the opposition were proposing a much later date of 2008, but that will actually start now in 2006 and will have a significant impact on clubs.

We are already seeing the impact in terms of the amendments relating to note acceptance. There are no more $50 notes or $100 notes accepted and the clubs are putting that down as one of the main reasons for a significant drop in revenue—$6 million. There are some very strong arguments for and against that. The Assembly has taken a view, and I am not going to reflect on the Assembly in relation to that, but that does have a significant impact on clubs, which we are seeing now.

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