D-Day for ClubsNSW war on poker machine taxes


TODAY is D-Day for ClubsNSW and the 50,000 people who work in the industry.

ClubsNSW chairman Peter Newell expects an offer from NSW Premier Morris Iemma's chief of staff when they meet today to try and resolve poker machine tax increases on the club industry.

The meeting comes one month after a memorandum of understanding between the NSW Opposition and ClubsNSW was signed to secure the future of NSW clubs.

Mr Newell said ClubsNSW wanted to make people aware of the Coalition's policy, which 'gives clubs a hope into the future'.

"If the Coalition is elected they have guaranteed to wind the rates of poker machine tax back to today's rate (September 2005)," he said.

"It is a difference between clubs paying 32.79 per cent or 49.09 per cent out of their gaming revenues and it will help clubs move forward.

"The Coalition will keep an extra $54 million in the North Coast economy alone."

Yesterday, Mr Newell addressed more than 100 club representatives at the Ballina RSL Club to outline the benefits of the NSW Coalition's guarantee if elected in March, 2007.

"Poker machine tax is the big issue confronting clubs and it has already cost more than 2500 jobs across the State since it was introduced in 2004," he said.

ClubsNSW employed economic forecasting company, The Allen Consulting Group, to predict job losses for clubs across the State.

The study predicts by 2010, under current tax legislation, clubs in the Ballina electorate would lose 90 jobs, the Lismore electorate 67 and the Tweed 717.

Spokesperson Jeremy Bath said today's meeting would either resolve the poker machine tax issue or ensure the fight against the current tax would continue until the next election.

However, Mr Newell was hopeful the Government would put a reasonable offer on the table.

"Mr Iemma said he was going to fix vendor tax and poker machine tax ? he's done away with vendor tax so maybe he'll come through for poker machine tax as well," he said.

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