Community Benefit Committee

The Community Benefit Committee is established by the Minister for Racing, Gaming and Licensing. 

It provides advice and assistance to the minister in the operation of the Community Benefit Fund program.

This includes the distribution and application of monies from the Community Benefit Fund consistent with the objectives defined under the Gaming Control Act (the Act).

The Committee also advises the minister in respect of the obligations of licensed clubs throughout the Territory to provide direct community benefit contributions to their local communities, as required under the Act.

What the Committee does

The Committee advises government on the operation of the total Community Benefit Fund program, including:

  • gambling industry contributions
  • budget allocations
  • funding priorities and funds disbursement for research, gambling support and general community grants.

The Committee meets quarterly or more frequently as required. Subject to further development of the overall program, at this stage it is expected activities will involve a commitment of at least eight to ten days per annum.

Members

The Community Benefit Committee comprises of the Director-General of Licensing and a minimum of three independent community members appointed by the minister for periods of up to three years. 

Administrative support for the Committee is provided by Department of Business.

The role of the Committee is non-statutory. 

Current members

Committee members include:

  • Annette Gillanders - Chair
  • Charles Burkitt - Deputy Chair
  • Cindy Bravos - Director-General of Licensing
  • Sharon Wilson
  • Jennifer Lillis
  • Vicki O'Halloran
  • David Koch
  • Nicole Walsh
  • Nathan Tam
  • Bronwyn McRostie
  • Deborah Fracaro
  • Michael Adams
  • Craig Jervis
  • Callum Mallett
  • Stuart Kenny
  • Tony Clementson
  • Jason Hanna

How community members are appointed

Appointment of community members is in an honorary capacity by the minister. 

A sitting fee is paid for attendance at meetings and is paid at a rate appropriate for a Class C3 Board or Committee. Currently the sitting fee is $228 per day.

Community members will also be entitled to reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses in meeting obligations arising from participation in Committee activities, consistent with normal government policy from time-to-time.

Committee activities are expected to occur primarily in Darwin.

Community members will be invited to seek appointment by public advertisement. Formal expressions of interest will be required which will include information on:

  • personal background and details
  • professional background/life experiences
  • community interests
  • particular areas of interest and expertise relevant to Committee activities.

Reporting

The Committee is accountable to government and the community through the provision of an annual report to the minister.

The Committee is required to report to government and the people of the Northern Territory concerning the operations of the Community Benefit Fund program during the previous financial year (1 July - June 30).

The report is produced for a diverse group of readers including the minister, Members of Parliament, community groups, successful and unsuccessful applicants, other government and non-government funding program stakeholders and the community.

The report is to contain:

  • profile and appointment details of Committee members
  • an outline of the work of the Committee during the year
  • details and statistical information on specific program activities during the year
  • details of significant and successful projects
  • historical data on funding allocations
  • changes to program policy and procedures during the reporting period.

The annual report is to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly by 30 September annually.

Ministerial responsibility and oversight

Responsibility for the overall administration of the Community Benefit Fund program rests with the Minister for Racing Gaming and Licensing. 

The minister directs the distribution of funding grants and conduct of other related activities on the recommendations of the Committee.

Administrative responsibility and assistance

The Department of Business is responsible for the coordination, management and control of the program.

 A support Secretariat is established within the Licensing NT division of the Department of Business. The Secretariat provides advice and executive support to the Committee. 

This support includes: 

  • promotion and operation of the program
  • coordination and processing of funding applications
  • management of amelioration support and research activities
  • overall fund administration 
  • general reporting of the program activities and progress to government and other stakeholders.

Responsibilities

The Community Benefit Committee carries the following specific responsibilities in respect of the provision of advice and assistance to the minister:

  • monitor gambling trends and advise on gambling policy initiatives, consistent with the objectives of the Fund, which will enhance the application of available funding and improve the effectiveness of gambling research, amelioration and community support activities
  • having regard to available fund capacity, problem gambling impacts, gambling information requirements, identified socio-economic disadvantage and needs in communities, levels of existing community support and other regional priorities, recommend budget allocations and periodic adjustments as required, for program funding categories
  • provide appropriate advice to the planning and conduct of gambling research activities
  • oversight direct community amenity contributions from licensed clubs and provide advice to the minister which will enhance the application of such contributions and ensure compliance with obligations of licensed clubs
  • consider community grant applications and recommend specific grant allocations from the Community Benefit Fund and monitor acquittal processes for funds distributed and
  • provide reports to the minister on the specific operations of the Fund and on community benefit aspects associated with gambling activity generally.

Community Benefit Fund program

The gambling industry is a major contributor to the Northern Territory economy, with significant investment, employment and taxation revenue impact. 

It is also a key element in the support of the broader recreational, hospitality and tourism sectors.

However, the industry also carries the potential for significant negative social consequences, as a direct result of problem gambling aspects, particularly in regard to the operation of electronic gaming machines (EGM). 

As a result, to establish a responsible and balanced position for the industry, government requires that this sector of the gambling industry, for example, operators of EGM, contribute to measures to address the adverse effects created, and more generally, to the positive improvement of the broader community environment within which the machines operate.

The required industry contribution is achieved in two ways - through the imposition of a Community Benefit Fund Levy on EGM revenue received by licensed hotels and casinos and by direct support to community improvement and development by licensed clubs which operate EGMs.

Licensed hotels

The Community Benefit Fund (the Fund) is established under the Act to consolidate and manage the Community Benefit Fund Levy collected from the operation of EGMs in licensed hotels.

The Fund is applied to a number of defined purposes being:

  • research into gambling activity, including the social and economic impact of gambling on individuals, families and the general community in the Northern Territory
  • promotion of community awareness and education in respect of problem gambling and provision of counselling, rehabilitation and support services for problem gamblers and their families
  • funding of general community projects and services of benefit to communities throughout the Northern Territory
  • fund management and administrative support.

Consistent with these objectives, funding support is directed to specific areas of activity being:

  • funding for approved gambling amelioration and problem gambling support programs
  • funding for gambling-related research projects undertaken by government and / or other approved organisations
  • Community Benefit Fund grants for approved community improvement and development projects undertaken by eligible non-profit community organisations, including, but not restricted to projects in support of:
    • youth
    • sport
    • recreation
    • the arts 
    • general community advancement.

Licensed clubs

Licensed clubs involved in the operation of EGMs are not subject to a Fund contributions levy, but are required to make a direct contribution to community development and improvement, particularly in their geographic areas of influence.

The level of contribution is expected to be commensurate with the level of gaming activity undertaken and the level of contribution as may be determined by the minister from time-to-time.

Section 68B of the Gaming Control Act outlines the requirements for the Community Benefit Committee to monitor the contributions made to the community by clubs.

Under Section 36 of the Gaming Machine Act, the Director-General of Licensing can require a club to provide information that the Director-General considers appropriate to assess the contribution that the club is making to the community and, in particular, its contribution through gaming machines. To assist clubs in providing information about their community contributions, a reporting pro-forma has been developed by the Community Benefit Fund Secretariat. 

The Club Community Contributions minister's guidelines are designed to assist the completion of the pro-forma. Reporting occurs twice a year and will cover periods January to June and July to December.

Go to the Northern Territory Government website to read the guidelines about keeping records about, and reporting on, clubs' contribution to their communities.

Grants

Go to the Northern Territory Government website for information about Community Benefit Grants including:

Budget allocations

In consultation with the Committee, Department of Business will review anticipated requirements and priorities for funding prior to each annual Territory budget cycle and recommend funding allocations to the minister.

The Committee will advise on identified needs, particularly requirements for remote and regional areas, to assist in formulating budget recommendations and funding priorities.

The general determinants used to establish annual budget allocations are:

  • the level of research and investigation required to maintain a satisfactory knowledge level of contemporary gambling developments, gambling generally and the impacts of gambling on the community, as the basis for policy development, industry management and establishment of remedial programs to address problem gambling
  • the amount of community support required to address identified disadvantage and social hardship caused by gambling
  • the level of general community need identified throughout the Territory as appropriate to receive support from this funding source.

Department of Business will monitor funding allocations and recommend adjustments to the minister for transfer between allocation categories in the light of funding demands and changes in funding priorities as they emerge.

Contact

Community Benefit Fund
Level 3, NAB House
71 Smith Street
Darwin NT 0800 

GPO Box 1154
Darwin NT 0801 

Phone: 1300 650 153 (free call) or (08) 8923 7616
Email: cbf.ntg@nt.gov.au

Last updated: 16 September 2016