Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Clubs ACT skeptical of Labor’s pre-election sweetener

By Charlotte Harper - 23 September 2016 3

Canberra Clubs

Last Saturday night, I picked up my drink at the German Club in Narrabundah and found a coaster emblazoned with anti-Andrew Barr slogans stuck to the bottom of it.

With a long-running anti-Labor campaign being waged by the clubs due to reach a crescendo with a protest at the Raiders Club at Kippax this morning, it was no surprise to learn that ACT Labor had come up with an election sweetener designed to win back at least some of the clubs’ support. The surprise was how long it took them to do so.

Yesterday, ACT Gaming Minister Mick Gentleman announced that a re-elected Labor Government would provide tax relief and a Community Club Grant of $10,000 to eligible small and medium clubs from 2017-18.

The small and medium club gaming tax rebate would allow smaller clubs to retain 50 per cent of their gaming tax revenue to re-invest into their organisation.

Some clubs were quick to respond positively to the Labor pledge, but others remain skeptical.

Clubs ACT has been campaigning for a year against a government move to grant Canberra’s casino operator gaming machine licences. The peak body for the city’s clubs has found a great supporter in the Canberra Liberals, and has become increasingly aggressive in its campaign against Labor’s stance that it would allow pokies in the casino.

Should whoever wins government next month allow poker machines in Canberra's casino?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

While it would seem a natural fit to allow poker machines in a casino, there is no doubt that the introduction of 200 of them in the city venue would impact on the clubs sector. Clubs ACT argues that many small and medium clubs would be forced to close.

They have rejected Labor’s announcement as “an election eve promise to misguide Canberrans yet again”, with the chief executive of ClubsACT, Gwyn Rees, describing it as “deceptive” and “not reflective of the industry as a whole”.

“We appreciate regulations on the clubs industry finally seem to be in focus because we have worked tirelessly to bring this to the public agenda but it needs to be pointed out – Labor is not working with the industry, they are just talking to a small handful of labor-party aligned and union driven clubs,” Mr Rees said.

“A $10,000 grant won’t go far enough to cover the rate rises these small to medium sized clubs have experienced over the last four years, it’s almost insulting.”

He said Mr Barr had been invited to attend today’s public rally at the Belconnen Raiders Club oval in Holt, but had rejected the invitation.

“People shouldn’t believe ACT Labor given their broken promises in recent times,” Mr Rees said.

“We won’t until their support is for more than just a few clubs and until it is publicly proven, not just an empty promise.”

We’ll be covering the rally live on Facebook from around 10.30am.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
3 Responses to
Clubs ACT skeptical of Labor’s pre-election sweetener
rommeldog56 9:29 pm 23 Sep 16

MERC600 said :

The clubs campaign about the casino having pokies used to puzzle me a bit. I guess some of the nearby clubs in Civic might feel the impact, but surely there would be none out in the burbs, where most of the clubs are.

I mean I can’t see members of the clubs down in the south piling into their white commodores and steaming all the way to civic just because the casino now has pokies…. Surely.

There isn’t much up to date info on Clubs ACT website about their campaign against the ACT Labor/Greens Govt either – but its quite visible in many Clubs. But a guy from the Burns Club in Kambah described it thus on 2CC this morning :

The Casino wanted 500 poker machines but ACT Govt said 200 only. They will be getting those from existing clubs, so no net increase in the number of pokies.

Larger Clubs : Not happy about that. Also upset with dramatic rises in Annual Rates and other ACT Gov’t charges.

Smaller Clubs : Not so much worried about the Casino getting 200 pokies (appears that some smaller clubs are trying to reduce their reliance on pokie revenue and are looking to develop other revenue streams, so are willing to sell some pokie licences to the Casino). Smaller clubs main concern is that they are being crippled by rapidly rising Annual Rates (see 1st comments, above, for an example) and other ACT Gov’t charges.

I think I got that right but happy to be corrected.

Interestingly, ACT Labor Clubs are not a member of Clubs ACT. Wonder why…….?

MERC600 3:05 pm 23 Sep 16

The clubs campaign about the casino having pokies used to puzzle me a bit. I guess some of the nearby clubs in Civic might feel the impact, but surely there would be none out in the burbs, where most of the clubs are.

I mean I can’t see members of the clubs down in the south piling into their white commodores and steaming all the way to civic just because the casino now has pokies…. Surely.

rommeldog56 11:00 am 23 Sep 16

Clubs ACT has been wageing a campaign against ACT Labor/Greens over the fees and charges they have been hit with. And, surprise, surprise, that includes Annual Rates increases. On 2CC this morning, it was said that one club has had its Annual Rates increased from $14Kpa to $55Kpa over last few financial years (similar sort of % increase that will be applied to residential Annual Rates too, but perhaps over a slightly longer period). Also, that the Clubs water charges had increased by about 400%.

As the OP states, the ACT Labor/Greens Govt, in this election period, responded yesterday announcing that small to medium community clubs would receive a one-off $10,000 grant as well as a generous tax rebate. That included a 50% rebate on gaming/gambling tax (pokies) :

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-22/act-labor-promises-help-to-small-to-medium-community-clubs/7868444

And ACT Labor Minister Gentleman says that its “not about politics” nor is it about the clubs campaigning against ACT Labor…..…???

As I recall, ACT Greens are strongly against gambling. I wonder how today’s announcement about a break on gambling tax from ACT Labor is going down with them ?

How bad/desperate can ACT Labor/Greens get !

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site