Page 2317 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022
Indeed, I know, as I chair the Board of Treasurers, the state and territory body, that other jurisdictions are also considering their own increases.
In the context of the debate that we have been having around the budget, and the apparent concern of the opposition about the level of expenditure and debt, that $41 million over five years is expenditure, and some of it will be debt funded. Again it is open to the opposition, if they are particularly concerned about debt and deficit, to support the Greens amendment in that regard. I will credit the Greens party with being prepared to identify areas of public expenditure that they do not support. But what we are intending to do through the increase is to use that extra tax revenue in general revenue. I commend Mr Steel’s amendment to the Assembly.
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (5.24): As we have been having this debate today, earlier in the day Racing NSW made an announcement that they are adding a further $30 million in prize money, along with record investment in infrastructure and an additional share of prize money for both equine welfare and stable staff. Their prize money for so-called country TAB races, which would be equivalent to here in Canberra, rises to $27,000. There is no possible way that the ACT can keep up with that.
I do not have the data with me; certainly, based on my discussions with online betting operators, I would reject the assertion made by Dr Paterson regarding the percentage of online betting on the racing codes, and assertions that were made similarly by Ms Clay based on what is on the front page of the app. Certainly, in the most recent discussions that I have had with one of those online bookmakers, the suggestion to me was that three-quarters of that turnover was indeed on the traditional racing codes. Although sports betting is increasing, three-quarters was on the traditional racing codes. I will get that specific data, but I do not place much stock in the assessment made by Dr Paterson.
In terms of assessing jobs based entirely on the wages bill of the race club, I wonder where Ms Clay thinks that the prize money goes! Very clearly, there are a bunch of people that are employed around horse racing that do not derive their income from the race club. The prize money makes the merry-go-round go around.
When I came into this place, I was hounded by the government over the fact that I had a five per cent share in a very slow racehorse; somehow that was a conflict of interest and it would end democracy or something! I want to report that the racehorse in which I had a five per cent share, Agrionius, was relatively handy; he won seven races and $65,000-odd in prize money. We finished behind. As owners, we finished behind in terms of not getting a return on that. That money did not go to us; that money ended up going to cover all of the costs and all of the battlers that work in the industry, the farriers, the vets and all of that other stuff. That is what happens to prize money.
I wanted to talk about Mr Steel’s amendment. Mr Steel in his amendment points out that the percentage of turnover on ACT horseracing specifically is actually quite small. There is this suggestion from him and Ms Clay that somehow we should base this entirely on just what is bet on ACT racing. That would be absurd, because it would mean that New South Wales would seek the turnover that was on their races in Perth;