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When pokies meet developers with help from Labor

By johnboy - 12 September 2012 22

Labor in the ACT has two great loves. Poker machines and real estate deals.

So it’s very exciting to see Joy Burch bring the two together along with patronage and largesse.

Nine small licensed clubs will receive grants of $15,000 each to assess the viability of their sites for residential development, ACT Minister for Gaming and Racing Joy Burch said today.

Ms Burch today announced the recipients of the ACT Government’s Small Club Site Redevelopment Support Scheme, which was funded in the recent 2012-13 Budget as part of the Government’s policy to help clubs diversify their revenue base.

“I am pleased that there has been such a positive response to this initiative, and that clubs see this as an opportunity to diversify their business models beyond the traditional source of gaming machines,” Ms Burch said.

“I am also pleased to see that many of the recipient clubs are located in existing residential areas where there are great opportunities for medium density infill, which would support another ACT Government policy objective of increasing housing supply.”

The Clubs who have been successful are:

— ACT Rugby Union Club in Barton
— Belconnen Bowling Club in Hawker
— Burns Club in Kambah
— Canberra Racing Club in Lyneham
— Federal Golf Club in Red Hill
— Harmonie German Club in Narrabundah
— Irish Club in Weston
— Italo Club in Forrest and
— Murrumbidgee Country Club in Kambah

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
When pokies meet developers with help from Labor
rosscoact 1:36 pm 13 Sep 12

Duffbowl said :

It doesn’t take much for a lease variation. It happened to the former Hungarian club in Narrabundah; now it’s a clump of snazzy* looking terrace houses.

* = For a given and undefined value of snazzy.

Territory Plan variation is required rather than lease variation if residential use is what is allowed. An all together different animal.

BTW, I’m not trying to defend, just shed some light on what’s going on. The ACT government is doing this to assist these clubs. Like it or not, think it’s corrupt and an aberration against God, whatever, everyone is perfectly entitled to an opinion.

I’m saying what the stated intention of this grant is, nothing more.

Duffbowl 12:35 pm 13 Sep 12

It doesn’t take much for a lease variation. It happened to the former Hungarian club in Narrabundah; now it’s a clump of snazzy* looking terrace houses.

* = For a given and undefined value of snazzy.

breda 11:29 am 13 Sep 12

rosscoact said:

The blocks the clubs are on are generally community facility (although some are commercial) and so cannot be developed for anything except community facility which in some instances can include older persons accommodation.

You are correct that they could hand it back but I think this initiative is designed to help them use their land to assist in their viability. Make of that what you will
————————————————————
Sorry, that doesn’t fly. If these developments are going to ‘assist in their viability’, it means the organisations are making a profit. It doesn’t matter that they are making a profit providing accommodation to any particular group. What matters is that they are using taxpayer subsidised assets to do things that the land was not zoned for, to bail out their financially unviable activities.

When the next round of extravagant extensions or declining demographics or just plain incompetence sends them to the wall, they will have ripped off ratepayers multiple times and will be back asking for more. After all, there are some very well paid club executives who have a standard of living to maintain here!

Land zoned for community purposes should either be retained for that use (perhaps by a different community group) or else subject to a transparent process whereby the lease is dealt with in a normal commercial manner that will maximise returns to the ratepayers who have been subsidising it.

rosscoact 8:01 pm 12 Sep 12

breda said :

The real issue is that community organisations were given free or cheap land (subsidised by ordinary ratepayers) and then whenever they get into financial trouble, the ratepayers are expected to fork out again. In this case it’s via grants, but more generally they are provided with income streams by allowing property developments on land that was given to them for community purposes.

It’s just plain corrupt, IMO. If a club or sporting body can’t manage its finances, then the lease should either be resumed and sold commercially, or handed to another community organisation that can manage itself properly.

Licensed Clubs haven’t been eligible for direct sales at any price for some years.

The blocks the clubs are on are generally community facility (although some are commercial) and so cannot be developed for anything except community facility which in some instances can include older persons accommodation.

You are correct that they could hand it back but I think this initiative is designed to help them use their land to assist in their viability. Make of that what you will

MERC600 7:48 pm 12 Sep 12

No mention of the now closed Serb club in Mawson, nor what was the old Dutch; then Raiders club, also in the same block..

breda 5:50 pm 12 Sep 12

The real issue is that community organisations were given free or cheap land (subsidised by ordinary ratepayers) and then whenever they get into financial trouble, the ratepayers are expected to fork out again. In this case it’s via grants, but more generally they are provided with income streams by allowing property developments on land that was given to them for community purposes.

It’s just plain corrupt, IMO. If a club or sporting body can’t manage its finances, then the lease should either be resumed and sold commercially, or handed to another community organisation that can manage itself properly.

Thumper 4:56 pm 12 Sep 12

Rather than say it is ACT Labor looking after the clubs once again, could it be ACT Labor looking to remove what little competition there is for the big clubs

Given their hatred of pubs, it wouldn’t be such a stretch of the imagination to say yes.

Gismondo 4:49 pm 12 Sep 12

Does this mean i can leave at the racetrack? i mean officially

Deref 4:28 pm 12 Sep 12

What’s not to like? Blocks of flats shaped like poker machines with a poker machine or two in each flat! Sounds great!

Duffbowl 3:49 pm 12 Sep 12

Some of the smaller clubs are indeed small clubs. As far as I’m aware, which isn’t very far admittedly, the Harmonie Club only has the block upon which it stands. The car park isn’t huge, so to develop medium density infill would require the clubs to go.

Rather than say it is ACT Labor looking after the clubs once again, could it be ACT Labor looking to remove what little competition there is for the big clubs?

MERC600 2:49 pm 12 Sep 12

What a waste of cash .. Any developer would willingly put up the cash .. Imagine how much the blocks will go for..

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 12:57 pm 12 Sep 12

Masquara said :

Joy Burch and Katie Gallagher are also planning to subsidise their club donors through providing some kind of “healthy meals program” for “poor families”. Given that there is very healthy welfare plus subsidies for “poor people” in this city, I’d love to see research into how many of the unfortunate kids needing a free breakfast at school, are in that position because of Joy Burch allowing the Labor Clubs to push pokie machines away from the less lucrative areas (where people are richer) and into the saddest socio-economic areas. What a cynical exercise on Katie and Joy’s part!
Katie, Joy: if you don’t want kids to go hungry, keep pokies away from poor parents!

completely agree

Masquara 12:34 pm 12 Sep 12

And in the interests of fairness, must recall the reason the ACT Greens’ Shane Rattenbury is dead silent on the pokies issue – one that the much-missed Kerry Tucker would have been vocal about:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/greens-accepted-funds-from-pokies-operators-20120904-25bqi.html

ACT “Greens” in name only.

Masquara 12:13 pm 12 Sep 12

Joy Burch and Katie Gallagher are also planning to subsidise their club donors through providing some kind of “healthy meals program” for “poor families”. Given that there is very healthy welfare plus subsidies for “poor people” in this city, I’d love to see research into how many of the unfortunate kids needing a free breakfast at school, are in that position because of Joy Burch allowing the Labor Clubs to push pokie machines away from the less lucrative areas (where people are richer) and into the saddest socio-economic areas. What a cynical exercise on Katie and Joy’s part!
Katie, Joy: if you don’t want kids to go hungry, keep pokies away from poor parents!

p1 11:36 am 12 Sep 12

I am generally supportive of medium and high density infill of the city, but do we really want to do that by removing bowling and golf clubs? Where will people in the future play bowling and golf?

And if the issue is that people are changing preferences, and no longer like bowling and golf, can’t they change the land use to something people are doing, like pole dancing or motor sport?

But I always forget that “developing” land for residential use is free money.

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