NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing Grant McBride talks with a group of licensed club operators during a visit to the Seagull
NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing Grant McBride talks with a group of licensed club operators during a visit to the Seagull

Tax hike put on hold

By CHRISTIANSTANGER

TWEED clubs will have to wait until the end of the year to find out if they will be slugged with more poker machines taxes by the NSW Government.

While visiting an annual registered clubs conference at Seagulls Club yesterday, the NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing, Grant McBride assured club operators that Premier Morris Iemma, would revisit the planned increases at the end of the year.

Under the current increase plan, the Government will increase taxes on poker machines each year until September 2010 when the tax will reach 49.09 per cent.

"Soon after he became Premier, Mr Iemma announced that he had initiated a financial review of Government and that any decision regarding the tax would have to be made in reference to that particular review," Mr McBride said.

"He also said he wouldn't be making a decision on the issue in the short-term but hopefully by the end of the year, he might be able to make a statement on it and he also said he would like to do something in regard to the issue."

Mr McBride, who arrived at the conference yesterday, before addressing delegates today, said he had been approached by club managers at the conference in regard to the planned tax increase and said that he expected managers on the Tweed to also voice their concerns.

"It's quite topical at the moment and I definitely understand the concerns of people in the area," he said.

Meanwhile, this week, NSW Opposition Leader Peter Debnam said a coalition government would freeze the tax in it's second year of increase at 32.79 per cent.

In response yesterday, Mr McBride said the Government was not surprised by proposal to freeze the tax at just under 33 per cent as it had been on the table for some time, he also said the tax freeze was not all it appeared to be.

"My observation is that there is a caveat on that and it says 'for the term of that parliament'. That is, they're freezing it from 2007 for the term of that particular parliament, so it could jump back up again," he said.



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