Tuesday 7th of February 2023

changing bicycle pump......

Sydney is set to burst into life this summer with concerts, food experiences, Christmas markets, international sporting events and arts and cultural events thanks to the NSW Government’s Summer in Sydney event series.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said dozens of unique events will roll out across the CBD and Western Sydney over summer to suit every age and interest and get people enjoying the city like never before.

“Whether you’re keen to dine at the city’s longest ever lunch, watch a harbourside concert on the Cahill Expressway, or soak up the festive spirit at Christmas markets in the Botanic Gardens, there will be something for everyone,” Mr Perrottet said.

“These events will be so important to our state – injecting millions into the local economy and supporting local hotels, bars, restaurants, tourism operators and small businesses, while bringing people together at this special time of year.

“These world-class Summer in Sydney events will deliver a significant boost to our economy but just as importantly, they’ll also provide visitors a summer to remember.”

Minister for Tourism and the Arts Ben Franklin said Summer in Sydney will make NSW the place to be this summer, catering for sports fans, foodies and arts and culture enthusiasts alike.

“These are exciting times in NSW as Summer in Sydney builds on an incredible major events line-up including Opera on Cockatoo Island, Frida Kahlo: The Life of an Icon, the Art Gallery of NSW Opening Festival, Sydney WorldPride, blockbuster musicals, festivals, major sporting events such as SailGP, the United Cup, the HSBC Sydney 7’s and racing carnivals,” Mr Franklin said.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of these events for our economy, which are forecast to inject at least $500 million into the Sydney economy.

 

READ MORE:

https://www.miragenews.com/summer-in-sydney-to-get-city-sizzling-884983/

 

MEANWHILE:

 

Scott Morrison’s chief political strategist has been drafted into Dominic Perrottet’s office to help guide the Liberal premier’s campaign for re-election.

Yaron Finkelstein was spotted in the NSW parliament last week and news of his appointment has spread like wildfire through the state government, which is facing an uphill battle to win a fourth term in government at the March 2023 election.

 

READ MORE:

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/morrison-s-chief-political-strategist-drafted-to-guide-perrottet-s-re-election-bid-20221028-p5bttp.html

 

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The Crime Commission report found rampant money-laundering in pubs and clubs, yet just days later NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet caves in on his pokies reform. Is NSW reprising the Rum Rebellion? Michael West reports.

Just to get this right … the NSW government has shelved laws to regulate the pokies and done them a favour instead? Instead of a cashless pokies card to combat money-launderers and addicted gamblers, as was proposed by Premier Dominic Perrottet, they’ve canned that idea now and gone with facial recognition technology, just what the pokies lobby ordered. No reform, just a straight “next drinks!”

The clubs pokies lobby ClubsNSW did not only get what it didn’t want – cashless pokies – they got what they did want too – facial recognition – technology that will allow them to track their problem gamblers even more closely.

It’s got all the ingredients of a horror movie, people killing themselves, untold victims of a money-laundering crime empire ignored, crime syndicates, enormous gambling profits, the town’s sheriffs taking kickbacks and turning a blind eye and now Big Brother. But it’s not fiction, it’s just another turn of events in the local casinos industry as they beat off yet another effort by feckless politicians to regulate them.

What we have here in the Crime Commission report is the definitive findings of systemic criminal activity in NSW clubs and pubs and yet just days later, despite their tough talk on crime,  Perrottet has walked back from his commitment to introduce a cashless gaming card. Not a whimper from Opposition Leader Chris Minns either. Labor makes a lot of money from pokies, if not a lot more, as shown in this excellent ABC investigation and the gambling sector pours a lot of money into the major political parties in return. 

There had been hopes, now quickly dashed, that the delay in Perrottet signing the ClubsNSW MoU – a document the pokies lobby insists on governments signing so as to deliver the clubs sector “regulatory certainty” – was evidence the Premier was standing up to the pokies lobby to demand real reform.  

Proceeds of crime … so? 

After all, “billions of the $95 billion (pokies turnover last year) likely the proceeds of crime”. That is the finding by the Taskforce, the finding of systemic criminal behaviour, billion-dollar money laundering, in NSW clubs and pubs pokies.

This was no tin-pot review either, rather a joint investigation by Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office, the NSW Police Force, the Data Analytics Centre, and the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

So it was that hopes were high, until this week, that the NSW government might finally stand up to the pokies lobby and come good with a pledge to bring in a cashless gaming card, reduce player limits maybe …

Instead what the public received was confirmation that the state is run by the modern day equivalent of the Rum Corps.

This in today’s SMH:

“NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has vowed to push ahead with a cashless gaming card for clubs and pubs before the election despite walking away from reforms that would have made them mandatory.

“In his strongest comments yet on the mandatory cards, which the state’s powerful clubs and pubs vehemently oppose, Perrottet said he was “certainly in favour” of pursuing a cashless gaming card.”

For their part, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC, the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office, NSW Police Force, the Data Analytics Centre, and the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research favour a cashless debit card. It would cut down on the billions in money-laundering and maybe make problem gamblers think twice before they hit the bank account again but instead … facial recognition.

Now clubs will be able to stop a customer from putting thousands through the pokies because “gee, he looks sad today”? Their peak body, ClubsNSW, has welcomed the report nonetheless, even claimed vindication. The report is linked here in case anybody wishes to check but this viewer was unable to find any evidence of good news whatsoever.

That didn’t stop ClubsNSW chief executive Josh Landis from finding this perspective:

For well over a year, the NSW club industry has been accused of allowing criminal gangs to launder substantial sums of dirty cash through poker machines. Today, the NSW Crime Commission has revealed that those allegations were — and are — completely baseless.

It doesn’t seem to matter what the evidence is. Again on the weekend, hard on the heels of the damning report by the NSW Crime Commission, it was confirmed NSW had the highest pokies losses in the world, already $3.8b for the first six months of this financial year. It is in NSW where the pokies penetration is highest and the regulation loosest.

Not only does this latter day Rums Corps run its protection operation buying off governments with its cash but it has branched out into launching private criminal prosecutions of its own critics, notably against whistleblower Troy Stolz – whose claims of money-laundering in clubs are looking very solid in the wake of the investigation – and Jordan Shanks. 

If the legislators and the judiciary are willing to give the new Rum Corps a leg up, let’s hope it’s not the police next. The latter day Rum Corps needs to be policed, not protected.

 

READ MORE:

https://michaelwest.com.au/perrottet-backflip-boon-for-clubsnsw-pokies-lobby/

 

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