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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 20 May 1993) . . Page.. 1643 ..


MR BERRY (Minister for Health, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Sport) (10.43): Madam Speaker, I present the Betting (Totalizator Administration) (Amendment) Bill 1993.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BERRY: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The Bill establishes ACTTAB as a statutory authority instead of its current status as a Territory owned corporation. This change will strengthen ACTTAB's accountability to the Government and, through it, to the people of the ACT. The changes that were brought about by the former Alliance Government were based on a privatisation philosophy.

Mr De Domenico: Which every TAB in the country works under.

MR BERRY: It does not. The Government recognises the importance of the racing industry to the ACT and the significant income generated through ACTTAB business. ACTTAB turnover last financial year was $85.8m. I think everybody would agree that, with such a high turnover, it is important that ACTTAB not only is fully accountable to the punters and public in general but also is seen to be accountable.

Mr De Domenico: How many shareholders does ACTTAB have? Two - you and the Chief Minister.

MR BERRY: Forget the philosophical bent. You are preoccupied and smitten with privatisation and business. All you are ever concerned about is the dollars for your mates. Under the present legislation, dividends are paid directly to the shareholders - in this case, the Chief Minister and me. While there may be full confidence in the present Government, in the future under a different administration punters may not feel as comfortable. They certainly were not comfortable, under the Alliance Government, about the dividends being paid in such a way. The amendments presented today will ensure that that situation does not arise.

Given the economic importance of the industry to the ACT, it is a high priority for the Government to ensure that ACTTAB functions in a manner which achieves maximum benefits to the Territory.

Mr Kaine: It does now.

MR BERRY: It does not now. The current legislative framework for ACTTAB operations as a Territory owned corporation limits the Government's ability to exercise a more positive role in its operations. Recently there has been activity aimed at pushing - - -

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