‘Cash grab’: Pokie tax hike to hit community

A pokies tax hike to be imposed from April will hurt community groups and associations, according to local clubs.

A Victorian legislation amendment that increases taxation on pokie machines by 4.2 per cent for the middle and top tax brackets comes into effect on April 1.

The increase will see most clubs in the Rural City of Mildura slugged 46.7 per cent of electronic gaming machine (EGM) revenue.

The Victorian Government said the EGM entitlement scheme, introduced in August 2012, included an “expectation” that its taxation revenue would “average between 36 and 38 per cent of EGM expenditure”.

As that share dropped to 34 per cent in 2012-13, the impending increase was introduced to restore State Government revenue to that “historical average”.

However, a number of Sunraysia clubs have condemned the move.

They say the community will suffer as a result, as clubs provide sponsorship and support to many local groups, associations and charities.

Red Cliffs Club president Brendan Bell said the “cash grab” was introduced without any industry consultation and would have  ramifications for community organisations that need the money most.

“Clubs have a proud history of supporting community groups and charities in their local area,” he said.

“Unfortunately, this will not only affect the viability of community clubs, it will also mean less funding for all sporting and other groups that clubs fund.

“The State Government has shown a lack of understanding of how much local groups in our area rely on the support we provide.”

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Friday's Sunraysia Daily 7-2-2014.

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