Pokie laws could end club industry

Nationals leader Warren Truss with Murwillumbah Services Club CEO Guy Diven.
Nationals leader Warren Truss with Murwillumbah Services Club CEO Guy Diven. John Gass

EXECUTIVES from the 31 licensed clubs in the federal electorate of Richmond yesterday briefed the National Party's federal leadership team on the devastating effect they claim proposed poker machine laws would have on their clubs.

Nationals leader Warren Truss and Senator Nigel Scullion heard the clubs would be forced to cut services, slash community donations and axe jobs if the laws go ahead.

Murwillumbah Services Club CEO Guy Diven, who hosted the meeting, said 79 full-time and indirect jobs his organisation provided would be put at risk.

He echoed earlier warnings voiced by the huge Twin Towns Services Club at Tweed Heads, which has warned 450 jobs were at risk.

Mr Diven said it was the first time the club bosses received “a good ear” from the federal Nationals leader.

They had previously had a number of meetings with Richmond Labor MP Justine Elliot, whom he said was “sympathetic in private and maintains the government line in public”.

“This is a fight for the survival of all clubs,” Mr Diven said.

“The first thing we would do is close the Murwillumbah Sports Club, which we took over last year when it was in financial distress.”

“We would have to severely wind back services at our main club, which would lead to reduced employment.”

Mr Truss said the Coalition had not yet seen the legislation, but had voiced concerns about its impact on clubs and inability to control other forms of problem gambling.

“The impact of the proposed measure would be very much greater in New South Wales than in any other state,” he said.

“If the measures are introduced ... they would lead to the closures or loss of revenue of clubs.”

Topics:  national party poker machines rsl club

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