'Club tax would be a winner'

NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell’s announcement yesterday a future Coalition Government would offer clubs a fair rate of gaming tax is recognition of the vital social and economic role clubs play in the community.

That’s the assessment of Member for Clarence Steve Cansdell, who fully supports the proposal, claiming it would be a win-win situation for all involved.

“What we are saying is that a tax cut will allow for a greater profit margin and will then allow clubs to contribute even more to the community. It will stop taxes disappearing into government coffers and will allow the community to see some real benefit,” he said.

“Any sporting or community group goes to the local clubs for support first and under this proposal, clubs will be able to say ‘yes’ even more often.”

Under a Coalition Government clubs would pay an estimated $2.5 billion in tax over the first four years of the next government – a reduction of $299 million on what they would pay under the existing rates.

In return, clubs would be required by legislation to increase their support for community and sporting groups over the next four years by an extra $89.5 million via the CDSE program – to be known as Club Grants – bringing their overall direct community support to $264 million.

Grafton District Services Club general manager Arthur Lysaught described the proposed tax cuts as “terrific”.

“I have been in the game for 40 years and in this position for 32 of those years. In that time I have seen many changes and some have done more damage than good,” he said.

“The recent election has seen certain politicians get elected that have no interest in our industry. It is great to see (a potential) State Government showing some support for the longevity of the industry.”

Mr Lysaught said under the tax cut the club would save between $100,000 and $200,000 annually.

“The saving would give us a little bit of breathing space. We are still doing our bit for the community, but our trading level is down on last year. Luckily we have been able to retain our level of community support through sale of private land.”

Mr Cansdell will tomorrow meet with managers from clubs across the Valley to discuss an amended taxation agreement.

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