Clubs like tax promise

By DARREN COYNE

TWEED's largest clubs, Seagulls and Twin Towns, have welcomed a promise from the NSW Coalition to freeze poker machine tax increases if elected, a move which could keep an extra $54 million in the local economy.

But the bosses of both clubs are now waiting to hear the NSW government's revised tax plan, which is expected to be released within weeks.

ClubsNSW chairman Peter Newell recently told clubs that tax rates under Labor would have increased by 87 per cent by 2010 and would result in more than $552 million taken from the area.

Mr Newell told local clubs that under an agreement reached with the Coalition and ClubsNSW the 117 largest clubs in the region would collectively pay $54 million less in tax than what they would under a Labor government. The rest would pay no tax at all or the same amount as under the ALP.

Twin Towns Services Club chief executive officer Rob Smith said yesterday that the Coalition tax plan was "sustainable" and would increase revenue to government while allowing clubs to survive.

"The government proposal is not sustainable and would see dramatic changes to operating such as a reduction in services, a complete user-pays system for everything we offer and a reduction in staffing," Mr Smith said.

Seagulls general manager Wayne Kendrigan said it was fair to say the club industry had welcomed the Coalition commitment.

"It's recognition of what we do and it's a fair tax rate which addresses the need of the government to balance the NSW economy," Mt Kendrigan said.

"Now we're hoping that the Labor Party either meets the Coalition's promise or betters it," he said.

Mr Kendrigan said if the ALP continued with its proposed tax regime ? designed by former Premier Bob Carr and treasurer Michael Egan ? it would result in the loss of grants to the local community, to clubs such as football and soccer, and any increases in prices would be passed on to members.

THE DIFFERENCE:

A comparison of what clubs have paid under the current Labor Government and what they could expect under the Coalition for 04/05 to November 10: Twin Towns $71.6m (ALP), $60.6m (Coalition); Seagulls $48.4m and $41.3m; Tweed Heads Bowls, $26.5m and $23.2m; Club Banora, $16.5m and $14.8m; South Tweed Sports, $12.7m and $11.6m.



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