Fam­ily ban on gam­blers

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - LINDA SILMALIS CHIEF RE­PORTER

FAM­I­LIES will be able to have loved ones banned from gam­bling venues un­der a pre-elec­tion agree­ment struck be­tween clubs and the state govern­ment.

The govern­ment has promised it will not raise gam­ing taxes should it be re-elected in March and the in­dus­try will be free to ex­plore new gam­ing tech­nolo­gies.

Also, the man­dated con­tri- bu­tion clubs must make to com­mu­ni­ties as part of the ClubGrants scheme will re­main un­changed, although the pro­gram will be ex­panded to al­low the in­dus­try to plough more money into drought ini­tia­tives.

Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian and Na­tion­als leader John Bar­i­laro signed the mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment with Clubs NSW, which is de­signed to give the in­dus­try cer­tainty over the next term of govern­ment.

The 12-point agree­ment also in­cludes the creation of a re­gional club trainee em­ploy­ment pro­gram, the for­mal­i­sa­tion of a part­ner­ship be­tween Clubs, TAFE and other ed­u­ca­tion providers, and al­lows for the govern­ment to sup­port the es­tab­lish­ment of new clubs.

Clubs NSW chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer An­thony Ball said it was the fourth such agree­ment be­tween the Coali­tion and Club­sNSW.

“This agree­ment recog­nises the piv­otal role clubs play in build­ing and sus­tain­ing com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

“The govern­ment has recog­nised this and has pro­vided us with the cer­tainty we need to get on with the job of look­ing af­ter our mil­lions of mem­bers and tens of thou­sands of em­ploy­ees.

“As a re­sult, we’ll see more char­i­ties sup­ported, more ju­nior footy teams on the pad­dock and more so­cial in­fra­struc­ture built for the peo­ple of NSW.”

The agree­ment will also al­low clubs to forge closer ties with the com­mu­nity, from the pro­mo­tion of the use of club fa­cil­i­ties by TAFE and other train­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions, to re­quir­ing the govern­ment to con­sider op­tions for Ser­vice NSW kiosks in venues in iso­lated ar­eas of the state.

It also re­quires the govern­ment to sup­port the es­tab­lish­ment of new clubs “so that new com­mu­ni­ties have ac­cess to an im­por­tant so­cial hub”.

The agree­ment also binds the govern­ment to com­mit­ting to a gam­bling pol­icy environ- ment “in­formed by re­search and ev­i­dence”, with new harm min­imi­sa­tion mea­sures to in­clude third-party ex­clu­sions, the re­duc­tion of a cash in­put limit from $7500 to $5000, and ad­vanced staff train­ing pro­grams in re­spon­si­ble gam­bling.

The gam­ing tax freeze is a ma­jor vic­tory for the in­dus­try, which is ex­pected to con­trib­ute $3.4 bil­lion to the state’s cof­fers over the next four years.

Clubs NSW says the in­dus­try em­ploys 43,000 peo­ple, with 23,000 in re­gional ar­eas alone.

Mr Bar­i­laro.

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