Page 3252 - Week 10 - Thursday, 25 August 2005

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Since that time the Victorian government has imposed a levy on providers of poker machines. Tabcorp and Tattersalls own and provide machines to all the pubs, taverns and clubs that use them in Victoria. I think it has placed a substantial surcharge of about $950—I cannot remember the exact figure; a direct hypothecation to its health system in recent times. In all likelihood that will flow through to the tax regime applied to clubs and pubs. I do not know what will be the final shake out.

At this point in time clubs in the ACT are paying the lowest level of taxation on poker machines in Australia and have a monopoly on poker machines. They do not have competition from hotels and taverns. Clubs in the ACT are in a more favourable position than any other clubs in Australia right now.

The note accepter question has been addressed by other states and there has been considerable debate. We will take action in relation to note accepters and in relation to imposing taxation in the longer term in light of the sensible and independent examinations that are done through the Gambling and Racing Commission. That is our intention. We do not intend to say, “We know what is best for everybody.” We accepted recommendations from the commission in the first place and imposed them via legislation.

Those recommendations were based on some studies, in particular those conducted by Jan MacMillan. Even Jan would say that the studies she has done in relation to note accepters, ATMs and those sorts of things could have been more sophisticated. We will ensure that those sorts of studies are done in a more sophisticated way.

In everything we do we remain open to change, given the circumstances. Nothing is fixed. We think that is the right thing to do. Even though we expose ourselves to an extended debate it is still right to telegraph the fact that we intend to increase taxation on poker machines or to bring it up to the lowest level charged anywhere else in Australia. We have done that but we have also recognised that there is a genuine need for some respite between now and the application of that taxation.

Teddy Bears Child Care Centre

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for education. The Teddy Bears Child Care Centre, currently located in Curtin with the Emergency Services Authority, has sought use of a wing of the Lyons primary school, which formerly housed the bushfire recovery centre. Minister, why have you rejected the request for this childcare centre to move to the Lyons primary school, away from the apparent security risk at Curtin?

MS GALLAGHER: I was originally approached by the owner of the Teddy Bears Child Care Centre at a cabinet community meeting. He requested use of the Lyons recovery centre for his childcare centre to operate in. In fact, he wrote to me subsequent to that meeting indicating that he would like to buy it from the government over a 10-year period and be allowed to use it in the meantime.

I sought advice from my department. I was aware at the time I spoke to Mr Gillett that the Lyons recovery centre was occupied. I have had numerous requests from community organisations over a number of months since the recovery centre operations closed down

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