Media Release 26 September 2016 – Election Commitments

Poker machine community contributions to increase to 20 per cent under Community Alliance Party plan – Election Commitments

The Community Alliance Party (CAP) today unveiled its election commitments on poker machines’ contributions to community groups.

CAP candidate for Murrumbidgee, Michael Lindfield said, “if elected we would lobby the Government to make it mandatory for Canberra’s 49 clubs that own and operate the city’s 4,906 poker machines to increase their financial contribution to community groups from the current level of 8 per cent of gross operating profits to 20 per cent over the next four years.

“Charity and welfare groups, including those helping to combat gambling addiction, would receive a minimum of 10 per cent to carry out their much needed work in the community.

During 2013-14, Poker machines in the ACT made a profit of about $96m on the machines, after tax and operating costs. It is time for the clubs to give back more for the community on whose support they depend.

“I find it two-faced, given ACT Labor’s strong views on access and equity, social justice, and community capacity building, that the Labor Party-owned Canberra Labor Clubs are amongst the least generous funders of community groups, contributing just under 9 per cent.

“According to The Canberra Times, the Labor Club group gets 68 per cent of its total operating revenue from poker machines, the second highest of any club. This is hardly surprising since the net profit from each Labor club poker machine is about $29,000 (2013/14); well above the $21,000 average for the big clubs.

“ACT Labor has lost its moral compass when it comes to poker machines. Like any other blue chip company they are only interested in profit making and not community well-being.

“Under the Community Alliance Party plan the clubs’ ‘cash to community’ contributions would increase incrementally as follows:

  • Year 1 (2016-17): from 8 per cent to 10 per cent;
  • Year 2 (2017-18): from 10 per cent to 14 per cent;
  • Year 3 (2018-19): from 14 per cent to 16 per cent, and
  • Year 4 (2019-20): from 16 per cent to 20 per cent.

The ACT Office of Regulatory Services would audit each club and report to the Legislative Assembly twice a year on the amounts clubs contributed, community group recipients, and the projects they are undertaking.  Hefty fines for non-compliance would also apply, as well as being named on a public register. Similarly, community groups are expected to put community contributions towards their ‘capacity building’ without delay, Lindfield said.

Background and reference points

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/labor-partyowned-canberra-labor-clubs-among-smallest-contributors-to-community-groups-of-any-clubs-20141201-11y8u7.html

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/labor-club-group-one-of-most-heavily-reliant-on-poker-machine-revenue-20150607-ghifmp.html

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/former-chief-minister-jon-stanhope-calls-for-act-labor-to-cut-ties-with-clubs-and-pokies-20150113-12n2z7.html

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/labor-party-unites-against-jon-stanhope-20150210-13as4y.html

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