Tuesday, 20 March 2018

SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR PROFITS FROM POKIES IN CLUBS LOSES HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN TAX FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, COMMUNITY

Media reports have revealed special treatment for profits from pokies in clubs deliver a $900 million tax concession to clubs each year, taking money away from schools, hospitals and other essential community services and infrastructure.

In stark contrast, clubs return about $100 million in donations to the community.

Greens MP and Gambling Harm spokesperson Justin Field said special treatment for clubs with pokies was gaming the system at every level, from last week's new laws that will see club profits from poker machines continue to increase to tax concessions and the use of community grants to reduce tax liabilities.

"The reality is that poker machines in clubs cause immeasurable social harm to individuals and the community in terms of financial loss leading to, relationship breakdowns, homelessness, and even suicide. No amount of money in grants can justify that harm," he said.

"It's a perverse system that is a form of institutionalised bribery, that does little to address the extent of the harm those machines will cause over time.

"What we've heard from community members and support workers is that the club grants create a type of soft influence where people and groups may self-censor due to financial reliance on pokies grants from clubs.

"The community might also be shocked to find out that under ClubGrant arrangements introduced last year, clubs can also use part of their own grants to build 'community care infrastructure' including childcare and aged care facilities.

"It would see some of the most vulnerable in our community co-located with neighbourhood club mini-casinos, turning pokies into a cradle-to-grave business of exploitation.

"The Liberal/Nationals can't deliver real action on dealing with pokies profits and tax arrangements with clubs because of its Memorandum of Understanding with ClubsNSW that formalises acting in the clubs' best interests.

"This must never happen again. The Greens call on both the Liberal/Nationals and Labor to reject a future MOUs with Clubs NSW, that prioritises their best interests over the community," he said

SMH Page 1 story: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/what-will-billions-in-tax-breaks-for-nsw-clubs-give-the-community-20180312-p4z3yj.html

You can view the current MOU between the NSW Government and Clubs NSW here:
https://www.clubsnsw.com.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/advocacy/mou-1014.pdf?sfvrsn=2



Background


Changes to the ClubGRANT Guidelines
Minister Toole made an announcement on 2 August that new ClubGRANT Guidelines 2017 have been introduced to replace the 2012 guidelines.


The main change to the guidelines is that it allows clubs to invest category 1 and 2 grants back into their own business and build 'community care infrastructure' that includes:


-          childcare facilities


-          aged care facilities


-          facilities for people with a disability


-          mental health facilities.


However, the grant may not be allocated for ongoing operation of the club's community care infrastructure. The grant also can only go towards establishing/improving a clubs community care infrastructure if the facility is leased and operated by an accredited third party (for profit and non-for profit).



19 March 2018

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