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New rules cost community up to $28 Million a year

7/11/04

New rules cost community up to $28 Million a year

Community arts, sports and charity groups will lose between $20 and $28 million in funding annually because of new Department of Internal Affairs’ rules limiting expenses paid to gaming venue operators, the Chair of the Charity Gaming Association (CGA), Rt Hon Paul East QC, said today.

“This careful estimate has been audited by a professional financial analyst and validated,” said Mr East in responding to a Department of Internal Affairs assertion that there was no evidence of a loss of community funds arising from the new rules.

“This estimate matches very closely the experience of sites the CGA has monitored since the new rules were introduced on December 1. Even in that short a time, the trend is obvious and high turnover sites are reducing hours in response to the limits on the costs they can claim.”

“This money is lost to the community because gaming machine users do not have other charity gaming options at the times these sites are now closing. The new rules will change the business practices of over 250 site operators and there will be no alternative gaming option that also provides community funding. The only other gaming venues that will be open are casinos which return profits to their shareholders. The only impact of the new rules is a net loss to the community.”

“The Charity Gaming Association is disappointed the Department of Internal Affairs is relying on pure speculation to defend rules which are harming community groups. We have done the responsible thing and told community groups - to which our members provide funding - they will have to budget for less in the coming year. We do not believe the Department intended this harm when they introduced the rules. We would like to work with them to find a solution to what is clearly a mistake.”

“We might begin with the fact that funding to community groups from CGA members has grown steadily to 40% of gaming revenue while expenses have decreased steadily. At the same time, government remains the biggest single beneficiary of gaming after community groups with a 31% share of gaming revenue from duties and taxes.

ENDS


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