Queensland’s reliance on pokie revenue has come under fire from critics following treasurer Jackie Trad’s 2018-2019 budget announcement.

Treasurer Jackie Trad.

Queensland treasurer Jackie Trad delivering her budget on June 12 expects pokies to contribute $750 million in tax revenue. (Image: ABC News/Nick Wiggins)

Setting out her financial plans for the year on June 12, Trad noted that taxation on pokies will add around $750 million to the state’s coffers over the next 12 months.

The estimate is based on Queensland’s 2016-2017 survey which showed that 24.7 percent of adults in the region play the electronic gambling machines.

Critics Opposed to Gambling Contributions

Despite contributing a significant amount in tax revenue, opponents of the Palaszczuk government have suggested revenue from pokies shouldn’t be part of the treasurer’s budget.

“The government’s reliance on pokies and gambling more broadly as a source of revenue is a real problem for this state, we know that the 2 billion-plus dollars that Queenslanders pour into pokies every year is tearing apart some of our most vulnerable communities,” Greens MP Michael Berkman told the Brisbane Times.

With the announcement of Queensland’s budget also comes the implementation of the new point of consumption tax. Set to go live on October 1, the new levy will tax operators 15 percent of the net wagering revenue they earn from bettors within the state.

Following Trad’s announcement, Queensland became the third Australian state to authorise a new local tax on gambling revenue. South Australia and Victoria made their moves earlier this year, while Tasmania, New South Wales and Western Australia are expected to follow suit in the coming months.

The Budget of a Broken System

Using a 15 percent tariff, ministers expect the new charge to generate $70.9 million in tax revenue during the first year. As well as using a portion of the money for vital services, the government will consult with the racing industry and other stake holders to determine where the majority will be spent.

For those opposed to gambling, pokie revenue and the new point of consumption tax are essentially a form of blood money. Echoing Berman’s sentiments, LNP leader Deb Frecklington described the latest news as the “budget of broken dreams.”

Although Frecklington has yet to offer a counter to what she sees as an “obscene tax grab,” an official alternative will be published soon.

Should the general public agree that too much hope is being pinned on money from the gambling industry, the LNP leader’s budget could help her party get into power at the next election.

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