CLUBS ACT chief executive Jeff House says rather than deliver a promise of relief, the ACT’s tax review has “decided to call for more money from a sector already under significant pressure”.
According to Clubs ACT, the Quinlan Review has predictably called for the club industry to pay more tax, despite gaming revenue falling by 22 per cent over the past seven years.
“This review has largely ignored the hard facts which show the principle source of revenue for clubs has been in free fall since the introduction of smoking bans in 2006. These bans came on top of an increase to gaming tax imposed on clubs two years prior,” Mr House said.
“The timing of the release of this report, months late and on the eve of the Federal Budget, raises legitimate concerns.
“The community will have very little time to digest the implications of the report’s recommendations before the ACT Budget. That’s not how such a significant report should be released.”
Mr House quoted former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope as saying in 2007: “I have also asked ACT Treasury to look at the existing gaming machine tax thresholds…I am interested in exploring ways in which we might vary the threshold levels to provide some relief, particularly for small to medium-sized clubs.”
“Rather than deliver on the promise of relief, this review has decided to call for more money from a sector already under significant pressure, particularly from federal reforms,” Mr House said.
“Clearly there was a significant divergence of opinion within the panel on the issue of gaming tax and it is unfortunate that it appears our constructive suggestions were largely ignored.
“I have consistently said the gaming tax thresholds are inappropriate. When more than 99 per cent of total gaming tax comes from the top tax threshold, clearly the system is broken. But the answer is not to increase tax but rather adjust the thresholds to provide relief where it’s most needed.
“In raising untaxed economic rent issues, the review seems to have regarded clubs as no different to any other corporate entity. However clubs are community based organisations and were established under a particular tax regime and that should not change.”