I am delighted to speak in support of the Public Lotteries Amendment (Keno Licensing) Bill 2016 because I have had firsthand experience of the outstanding work of clubs in communities across New South Wales. Recently the premises of a disability services provider in my electorate, Studio ARTES—a much-loved organisation—unfortunately burned to the ground, displacing 180 people living with a disability. Who were the first people to come to their rescue? Who were the first people on the scene to provide a facility for those displaced people? It was the clubs in my community. I place on the public record my support and gratitude for the Hornsby RSL Club and the Asquith Rugby League Club. Those clubs opened their doors to very vulnerable people and gave them the opportunity to continue to do what they love. This is not the only example of the work of clubs in my community—in fact, there are countless examples. If there is a good cause the clubs are often the first ones to help. They include the Hornsby RSL Club, the Asquith Rugby League Club, the Galston Club and Club Berowra. Our communities are better off because of the work those clubs do.
I support the bill because it implements one of the final commitments under the 2010 memorandum of understanding with ClubsNSW. Our Government is committed to securing the future viability and sustainability of registered clubs in New South Wales. The bill goes a long way towards achieving that and will support clubs such as the ones in my community. Registered clubs make substantial economic and social contributions to this State and provide key facilities in regional and metropolitan communities across New South Wales. New South Wales has 719 bowling greens, 353 golf courses, 100 tennis facilities and 96 sporting fields directly related to clubs. I know that the Asquith Bowling Club has Keno and it is terrific club in my local community.
What is not often acknowledged is the role that clubs play in creating employment and thus helping to grow our economy. Clubs are one of the biggest employers in this State, employing more than 42,000 people. More than 20,000 of those jobs are in regional New South Wales. I note that the member for Northern Tablelands is in the Chamber. Clubs play an important role in creating employment in his electorate. Clubs contribute $3.2 billion to the State's economy. They play an important role in the fabric of local communities like mine, providing a variety of facilities for those communities in addition to being places to meet and socialise. Clubs also provide important facilities during times of need. As I outlined earlier, Studio ARTES was in desperate need of a new facility and the morning after fire ripped through its building the clubs opened their doors to ensure that vulnerable people were able to continue accessing its services.
The revenue earned by clubs through Keno commissions assist them to provide valuable services to members. The revenue that Club Keno Holdings, as joint licensee, receives from Keno will continue to provide benefits to the clubs industry and the broader community in a range of ways. For example, this revenue will be returned to clubs as additional commissions that may be reinvested through promotional activities and equipment upgrades or given to charitable or sporting and other organisations across New South Wales, reinvested in Keno game promotions and equipment or used to help the clubs industry fund development and support projects.
Mr Temporary Speaker Notley-Smith, I know that you are very interested in the regulatory structure being proposed. By granting new licences to the Keno licensee, Keno will operate under the modernised regulatory structure that applies to NSW Lotteries—and I know everyone is excited about that prospect. It will provide a fair, transparent and reasonable regulatory regime to facilitate growth and innovation while adhering to community standards. The strict harm minimisation requirements in the Act will continue to apply to Keno. That is not all. My work experience student, Jacques, who has come from the United Kingdom, is in the gallery to hear us talk about this bill and the role that clubs play in our communities. Jacques is doing a fantastic job for me and for the people of Hornsby. The new regulatory structure will allow the regulator to implement the modernised regulatory regime to reduce red tape for the Government and the operators, while also providing stronger regulatory oversight and controls.
The licensing process is also exciting. The negotiations around the terms of the licences were conducted at arm's length from government by a steering committee of senior officials from NSW Treasury, the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing—now Liquor and Gaming NSW. The steering committee was assisted by expert advisers on financial, legal and probity matters relating to the negotiations. The term of the licences will be until 1 April 2050, when I am sure the Temporary Speaker will still be a member of this place, as no doubt will the member of Northern Tablelands, who is a young and vibrant member—he will be the Philip Ruddock of the State Parliament. This represents an extension of 28 years on the existing licences. An independent valuation of the licences was undertaken to ensure that the State achieved fair value for the additional licence terms, so everyone is a winner. The agreement for the new licences includes the payment of more than $230 million to the State during the term of the new licences. This additional money can be invested in new infrastructure and services within New South Wales.
I now turn to the six key government commitments in the memorandum with ClubsNSW. These are: a review of the local impact assessment process to determine whether electronic gaming machines should be approved in high-risk areas; modernising the Lotteries and Art Union Act 1901, which could do with modernisation through a root-and-branch review, and is exciting stuff; introducing voluntary pre-commitment for gaming machines throughout New South Wales; enhancing the ClubGRANTS scheme, about which I am pumped, including by strengthening the local committee process used by registered clubs to help inform category one funding decisions—I believe grants for a range of charitable organisations have recently been sent to clubs in communities such as mine—reviewing club amalgamation and de-amalgamation rules to reduce duplication and costs, which I am pleased to see the member for Wyong is excited about; and aligning the planning and liquor licensing systems to reduce duplication and costs.
I am excited to report that the implementation of these commitments is well underway to help clubs continue to deliver benefits to communities across the State. Other commitments and reforms identified in the memorandum of understanding will further enhance the viability of the clubs industry and provide greater business certainty through measures such as a freeze on the gaming machine tax rates for a further four years.
The bill does not weaken existing provisions already applying to Keno licences. In fact, the bill strengthens those provisions, such as the suitability requirements or fit and proper person requirements. The Minister has an ongoing role in ensuring that operators and their close associates continue to be suitable to conduct Keno. The bill supports the outstanding work that clubs do in communities—not just mine, but communities across New South Wales. They provide an important avenue for social activities, support for community groups across the State and other important work. The role of government is to support organisations that do vital work, which is what this bill does. The bill ensures that clubs across the State are viable and can continue their excellent work. [Extension of time]
Why would I not seek an extension of time to talk about this exciting bill? The Hornsby RSL Club, Galston Club, Asquith Leagues Club, Berowra RSL Club and the Asquith Bowling and Recreation Club provide great community facilities. The Hornsby RSL Club, under the stewardship of president Colin Bourke, recently refurbished its community facilities and opened a Chinese bistro. I opened the facilities late last year. The Hornsby RSL Club is an iconic part of the community. Recently the preselection of the new Liberal candidate for Berowra was held at the club. It was a good result.
The Northern District Cricket Club, led by Graham Gorrie and Mike Langford, recently held its annual dinner at the Asquith Leagues Club, which has also been refurbished to include a Chinese bistro. I recently opened that refurbishment. The club provides facilities for a range of activities involving seniors, young people and families. Those clubs are an important part of the community and offer wonderful facilities. They provide money through the ClubGRANTS scheme to community groups such as the Rural Fire Service, sporting clubs and disability service providers. Clubs do outstanding work across the community. I support the Public Lotteries Amendment (Keno Licensing) Bill 2016 and my local clubs, and I implore every member of the House to do likewise.
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