THE ACT Government will hand out grants of $15,000 to small clubs to help them assess the viability of their sites for residential development, as part of the 2012/13 Budget.

The $150,000 commitment, would allow clubs to undertake an initial feasibility study to assess the viability of using some of their existing club site for housing development. Should grant applications from eligible clubs exceed the budget allocation, consideration will be given for additional funding to meet the demand.

ClubsACT chief executive Jeff House has described the Budget promise as a “win-win”.

“Fundamentally, this is the kind of announcement that ClubsACT has been waiting for,” Mr House said.

“If the Government wants clubs to move away from gaming, then the industry needs help to do that and this grant scheme is a very welcome step in the right direction.

“This is the first announcement from the ACT Government which actually assists small clubs in particular, to diversify their revenue base and provide them with an opportunity to survive and thrive under what are very challenging circumstances,” he said.

“While many larger clubs have already begun to diversify their incomes, many smaller clubs simply don’t have the financial resources to explore the possibilities of developing their land and to secure their financial future without relying on increasingly unpredictable poker machine revenue.

“This announcement is a ‘win-win’ as it addresses both Canberra’s significant shortage of housing as well as allowing clubs to create non-gaming revenue streams. These grants will hopefully tie in to the Government’s Lease Variation Fee waivers and further allow clubs to fast-track residential developments.”

The Economic Development Directorate will consult with key stakeholders including ClubsACT and individual small clubs prior to the call for expressions of interest.

Clubs who receive a grant will also be able to access assistance from EDD in navigating the feasibility assessment process. For more information contact 6207 2379 or email eddcommunity@act.gov.au

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