By Ian Neubauer
The AHA has told the Senate Community Affairs Committee the proposed Poker Machine Harm Reduction Tax Bill will have devastating consequences for hoteliers and their employees.
“The AHA… strongly urges the Senate Community Affairs Committee to take full account of the possible effects of the bill,” said AHA chief executive, Bill Healey. “The proposed measures cannot be justified on economic and social policy grounds.”
Spruiked by ‘anti-pokie’ Senators Steve Fielding and Nick Xenophon, the bill aims to introduce a new tax that would effectively push gaming machines out of pubs and registered clubs and restrict them to dedicated gaming venues, such as casinos and racing venues.
The senators cite research claiming about 293,000 Australians have significant gambling problems, and that half of all poker machine users fall into or are at risk of falling into this number.
But Healey said if the bill is passed it would spell an end for hoteliers, who rely on gaming revenues to prop up diminishing returns from traditional F&B income streams.
“The removal of electronic gaming machines from hotels as proposed under the current bill would have devastating consequences for the financial viability of hotels, particularly those in regional communities and put at risk the jobs of many of the more than 81,000 people employed in the sector, he said. “There would be negative flow-on effects for hotel suppliers and their employees and for State revenues.
The Senate Community Affairs Commission is scheduled to produce a report on the bill on August 12.
To learn more about the Inquiry into Poker Machine Harm Reduction Tax Bill, click here.
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