Member for Kiama Gareth Ward has today warned that local homelessness services, meals on wheels, supports for vulnerable kids, mental health initiatives and emergency services could all see funding axed as part of a NSW Labor Government review of the popular ClubsGRANTS program.
Mr Ward said that ClubsGRANTS was established in 1998 to ensure that registered clubs in NSW contribute a portion of gaming machine profits to support local community services.
“Over $800,000 has gone to local community groups in the Kiama Electorate alone this financial year,” Mr Ward said.
The Terms of Reference for the review of ClubsGRANTS, obtained by Mr Ward, outline that ‘repealing’ the program is being considered by the Government as a live option.
Under questioning by Mr Ward in Parliament, the Minister for Gaming and Racing wouldn’t rule out cutting the program. Mr Ward’s Question on Notice can be viewed here: 1565 - NSW CLUBS GRANTS PROGRAM
“I can see what’s going on here. The Government is gearing up to cut this program and take the revenue away from local community groups and dump it into general revenue,” he said.
“If this was just about reforming and improving the scheme, why would the government’s own terms of reference include the word ‘repeal’. If the government was committed to keeping the scheme, this option wouldn’t be on the table.
“From sporting clubs to disability services. From mental health programs to cancer and Parkinson’s support groups, this funding is vital and I am totally opposed to any plans to cancel this scheme.
“The Minister and the NSW Government need to rule out cancelling this program and they need to do it today.
“The community’s need is greater than the Government’s greed.
“I call on the Labor Member for South Coast to stand with her local community and her clubs and oppose any proposal that would see the funnelling of funding back to her Labor mates in Sydney as a result of cancelling the ClubsGRANTS program,” Mr Ward concluded.