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Australian Official Criticizes Dependence on Gambling Revenue

5 August 2003

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the (Australian) Age: “Treasurer Peter Costello has accused the states of failing to help gambling addicts, claiming they have let the problem fester because it was pumping billions of dollars of extra taxes into their coffers.

“After last week saying the states had exacerbated Australia's housing affordability crisis by not returning a stamp duty windfall, Mr Costello criticised them yesterday for their growing reliance on poker-machine revenue.

“…In Victoria, revenue from gambling has risen from $1.28 billion in 2000-01 to $1.32 billion last financial year, accounting for almost 15 per cent of the government's tax take. By 2006-07, the State Government expects gambling revenue to reach $1.78 billion, or 17 per cent of its tax revenue.

“…A spokesman for Victorian Treasurer John Brumby said the state had `the most comprehensive problem gambling package in Australia, arguably the world’. `This is just a fairly desperate but obvious political tactic from the highest taxing Treasurer in Australian history,’ the spokesman said…”

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