Star Casino and United Workers Union Against the Tax Increase
The workers in Sydney’s Star casino are worried about their future – and with a reason. Since gaming taxes will be increased in July, many of them will lose their jobs. That’s why the Union decided to schedule a meeting with Daniel Mookhey, an NSW Treasurer, to discuss further steps.
Are the jobs jeopardized:
Dario Mujkic, the Director of the United Workers Union, is worried about the taxes, which will cost the Star Casino about $100 million per year. It will negatively impact the employees, and their number is currently about 4.500.
As the Union claims, the tax revenue will have to be revised and balanced with the impact the casino has on jobs and people’s lives. The treasurer will have to carefully examine the consequences of Matt Kean, the controversial Liberal predecessor, and work in the best interests of both parties.
In two months, the taxes in New South Wales will be higher than in Victoria. However, the information was announced without consultations with included parties.
The Treasury advice said: “The announced increase in rates was intended to align [NSW and Victoria]. However … The Star has argued, correctly, that NSW’s effective rates will be higher because Victoria provides casino operators with credit towards state taxation for GST paid on non-rebate and gaming revenue.”
The current tax rate is 31.57%. After the increase, it will be 60.67%, which is an increase of almost 50%.
The increase was announced at the end of the last year, and the plan was to use tax revenue to fund the disaster victims and align the revenues with the Victoria’s.
However, Mujkic wants to ensure the whole staff will remain employed after the tax increase and that the viability of the casino’s operations won’t jeopardize the staff.
In this financial year, the profit so far was $30 million in the Star and predicted annual losses are about $100 million.
Mujkic commented on that: “Our Union believes in progressive taxation, but I don’t think this proposal was ever about tax justice, it was really about having someone – Star – to attack politically in the context of the gambling reform debate. Star has been fined by regulators left, right, and center, and they are going through a very thorough remediation program. That is entirely appropriate because of misconduct and poor management. But I think this tax increase was additional to that.”
Robbie Cooke, CEO of Star Entertainment Group, agrees with the Union, saying that the taxes are neither acceptable nor real. The company tried to contact the government and negotiate about the matter, but all attempts to communicate with them failed.
Mookhey previously said that it would be hard to undo what the previous government had done when it came to taxes. However, he will hand down the full budget of the government in September, and the economic statement to the parliament is expected in June.
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