Gaming Machine Tax
GAMING MACHINE TAX
Mr JOHN BROGDEN: I direct my question without notice to the Minister for Science and Medical Research. Does he continue to support Labor's club tax increase when the major fundraising arm of the Westmead medical campus, the Millennium Foundation, will have almost $10 million ripped out of its research plans over the next three years due to the tax?
Mr FRANK SARTOR: The Leader of the Opposition has gone to great lengths to try to corral representatives from some medical research institutes into his office to perpetuate an untruth about the community development expenditure grant, for which the Government gives a rebate of up to 1.5 per cent. He had a whole lot of them in his office this morning. The Opposition's sources are the clubs, because I have spoken to them. The big clubs have been telling them that as a consequence of the guidelines about the funding, clubs will cut medical research funding to these bodies. The simple fact is that there are two categories, and category 2 has always been available for medical research funding. Either the Leader of the Opposition is lazy or he is not doing his research. If he had read the guidelines he would know that clubs could still fund medical research, if they choose, even within the 1.5 per cent limit.
The guidelines were a clarification of what was always intended: category 1 was meant to be for the smaller local community organisations that might otherwise get no funding. But he is perpetuating the myth. I do not know whether he is lazy, ignorant and did not do his homework, whether he is a wholly owned subsidiary of the clubs of New South Wales, or whether he is a consultant to the clubs of New South Wales. The Leader of the Opposition has no integrity. He is behaving like a consultant to a few large clubs in this State. He does not care about the truth. He does not care that we might cut $1.6 billion out of health funding, including medical research. He wants to cut taxes and increase spending. There is no responsibility whatsoever. The Government generously funds the Millennium Foundation to the tune of $2.3 million per annum under the Infrastructure Grants Program, and we are giving the foundation $8 million a year to establish its first home, but John Howard has reneged on the deal.
Three members on the 18-member Millennium Foundation board—Alan Overton from Parramatta Leagues Club, Keith Queen from Blacktown Workers Club and Trevor Oldfield from Wentworthville Leagues Club—represent the local club industry. The Leader of the Opposition is promoting their cutting the funding to the Millennium Foundation. He has a callous disregard for medical research. He does not care about the impact of what he is saying. He does not care whether punters who spend money on poker machines get some benefits, at least through the health system. He wants to fund lavish foyers, artworks and granite in the foyers of the large clubs.
Mr John Brogden: I've seen the Town Hall.
Mr FRANK SARTOR: Sydney Town Hall has always been very well run. We set new standards after we got rid of your lot.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Upper Hunter to order.
Mr FRANK SARTOR: The Leader of the Opposition, the consultant on the opposite side, is trying to perpetuate an untruth to try to leverage political advantage over a few of the large clubs. The facts speak for themselves.