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Bring back casket funding for hospitals.

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Sunday, 9 October 2005

Profits from the Golden Casket Lotteries should be returned to Queensland’s hospital system, Federal member Peter Lindsay said today. Many will remember when the Casket profits were used to fund the free hospital system in Queensland. Indeed in 1938, the Royal Women’s Hospital in Brisbane was built and equipped entirely from funds raised by the Golden Casket. Golden Casket is a gaming entertainment business wholly owned by the Queensland Government. The latest figures available show that the Casket had an annual turnover of $788 million and returned $192 million to the Government’s consolidated revenue. Since 1992, only $1.5 million (less than 1 percent of the casket’s profits) has been returned to fund health projects. Two thirds of this is spent in Brisbane. Yet the Casket can find money to sponsor Brisbane events like the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols and the 2004 Australia Day Parade. Compare this with Western Australia where Lotterywest has no shareholders and so allocates all their profits to be returned to the Western Australian community. A fixed percentage of their net revenue is allocated to public hospitals. In the last financial year almost $79 million went directly to the hospitals. Queensland should return to the original intent of the Golden Casket and follow the Western Australian example.