The Napthine Government’s gaming tax increase will damage the viability of regional and rural sporting and community clubs across Victoria, Shadow Minister for Gaming, Martin Pakula said today.

Mr Pakula met late yesterday with sporting and community clubs in Ballarat to discuss the  implications of the Napthine Government’s hotel and club electronic gaming machine tax on community organisations.

“Denis Napthine’s job-killing tax slug will make many small struggling clubs across Victoria unviable,” Mr Pakula said.     

“It’s remarkable that rather than being pleased that gambling losses are down, the
Napthine Government is disappointed that their tax take isn’t higher, so they’re raising the tax.

“Local clubs, like RSL’s, bowls and football clubs whom already battle to stay in operation, will really feel the pinch to their budget bottom line.

“Local sporting and community clubs don’t just offer recreational opportunities; they are
workplaces, training centres and education providers.

“This tax rise will also place future infrastructure and capital improvements at clubs and pubs in doubt, and that will have a trickle-down effect on local building and construction jobs,” Mr Pakula said.    

Local Ballart sporting clubs including the Sebastopol Bowls Club, Ballarat Leagues Club,
North Ballarat Football Club, Midlands Golf Club, Ballarat Basketball and the Ballarat Trotting Club along with Clubs Australia and the Community Club’s Association of Victorian, all expressed their concerns over the governments planned tax increase during yesterday’s roundtable.

The Napthine Government’s new tax will, from 1 April 2014, see the two top tax brackets for hotel and club venue operators increased by 4.2 per cent.  

Pubs and clubs have vowed to campaign against the tax increase on the industry, which the Australian Hotels Association predicts will hit venues’ bottom line by up to 7.5 per cent.  

State Member for Ballarat West, Sharon Knight said that Ballarat was already under significant economic and employment pressure.  

State Member for Ballarat East, Geoff Howard said that local sporting and community clubs were not just important local employers but key contributors to the ‘liveability’ of Ballarat. 

Mr Pakula said that he expected significant backlash from communities right across Victoria over the Napthine Government’s job-killing tax slug.

“This cruel tax is nothing less than a ‘community killer’ that will drive local sporting and community clubs into the ground,” Mr Pakula said.