Community Benefit Committee
The Community Benefit Committee is established by the minister responsible for the Gaming Control Act.
It provides advice to the minister in relation to some of the grant programs offered by the Community Benefit Fund program.
What the committee does
The committee provides recommendations for funding to the minister in relation to applications received for:
- major community organisation grants
- major community events grants
- vehicle gifts.
The committee meets twice yearly or more frequently if required.
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 the relevant department.
The role of the committee is non-statutory.
Committee members include:
- Alecia Brimson - acting director-general of licensing
- Charles Burkitt - chair
- Nicole Walsh - deputy chair
- Jane Munday
- Paul Mery
- Ross Coburn
- Ruth Hillier
- Sarah Grogan
- Stuart Kenny
- Suzanne Hullick.
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.
The Community Benefit Committee is required to scrutinise applications and provide recommendations on funding to the minister for:
- major community organisation grants
- major community event grants, and
- vehicle gifts.
The director-general of licensing, separate to their responsibilities on the Community Benefit Committee is required to scrutinise applications and provide recommendations on funding to the minister for:
- minor community organisation grants
- gambling amelioration grants
- gambling research grants.
The committee is accountable to government and the community through the provision of an annual report to the minister.
The annual report is to be a combined report from the committee and the director-general of licensing concerning the operations of the Community Benefit Fund program during the previous financial year (1 July to 30 June).
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 provided to the minister by 30 September annually and must be tabled in the Legislative Assembly within six sitting days.
Responsibility for the overall administration of the Community Benefit Fund program rests with the minister responsible for the Gaming Control Act.
The minister directs the distribution of funding grants and conduct of other related activities on the recommendations of the committee or director-general of licensing.
The department is responsible for the coordination, management and control of the program.
A support secretariat is established within the Licensing NT division of the department. 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 active grants
- overall fund administration
- general reporting of the program activities and progress to government and other stakeholders.
The gambling industry is a major contributor to the Northern Territory (NT) 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.
The Community Benefit 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 NT
- 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 NT
- 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 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:
- the arts
- general community advancement.
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 director-general 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.
To read the guidelines for keeping records about, and reporting on, clubs' contribution to their communities, go to the Northern Territory Government website.
Community Benefit Fund
Level 3, NAB House
71 Smith Street
Darwin NT 0800
GPO Box 1154
Darwin NT 0801
Last updated: 29 December 2020
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