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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 8 Hansard (13 August) . .

Page.. 2452..

context of the ACT budget. Mr Barr noted that this commitment is solid and that it is a significant investment from the ACT budget to this industry. It is also worth noting that the move to the budget line was because of the decrease in income that was becoming apparent from ACTTAB. This government moved to make sure that the industry had certainty.

The funding arrangements that have been in place since their commencement in 2010 have resulted in an increase in financial support in real terms over the arrangements that previously existed. As this budget indicates, this is a long-term commitment. We have always remained active in responding to the concerns of the racing industry.

For example, we gave the local racing clubs the opportunity to increase the level of self-generated funding by charging a fee for the use of their race field information. These product payments are enacted through race field legislation and apply to wagering operators. These arrangements have provided the racing clubs—all three of them—with the flexibility to price their product in line with market demand.

Looking ahead, now that the government has made its announcement on the sale of ACTTAB, I have asked officials in the directorate to commence work with the racing clubs on establishing a multiyear contractual arrangement, as foreshadowed in our MOU with the industry. It also forms part of paragraph (2)(c) of Mr Barr's amendment, which notes that the government will work with the racing industry to investigate the development of multiyear contractual arrangements with reporting requirements in consultation with the industry.

In closing I would like to reiterate the government's ongoing commitment to our racing industry. I look forward to working with them on achieving the many objectives that we share for our community.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (12.17): It is important we get this sale right. We on this side do not doubt the case to sell. This is about the process, it is about the outcome and it is about the long term, and that is what we need to get right now. I have to say that, yes, there is disappointment in the industry. Despite the words from Minister Burch, I do not think there is any certainty for the industry in what they say, and there is certainly no certainty in this amendment.

If members recall the motion to sell that we had last year, I said, "Let us put some things on the table that need to be done before the sale happens." The response was, "We will sell this and we will take care of it." There is no more certainty today than there was last year for both the staff and the industry in the way that the government has gone about this sale. If you are committed to the industry, certainly you would have allayed their fears before the sale. You would have shown them the clear path for their funding and you would have been discussing this with them before the sale and ensuring things like long-term funding. The minister has just said they will commence work now with the industry to look at long-term arrangements.

Well, it will be a bit sad once the gate is closed. The fear in the industry is that, yes, they are budget funded and they are grateful for that money, but that is all they have.

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