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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 March 2010) . . Page.. 1048 ..


can put his eloquent speech about how local politicians have missed the commonsense point of ‘here is an industry that funds itself, and they are doing their best to disable it’.

I trust the above helped explain the situation and you are able to help commonsense be restored and can save a very traditional and enjoyable part of Canberra’s social fabric.

One final thing is the flow-through effect into other parts of the economy. From our own point of view, as Canberra is just far enough away for us to prefer to stay overnight when we do have runners, we have groups of people coming down from Sydney for the races, staying overnight in local hotels, eating in local restaurants, and in all contributing to the local economy, all as a direct result of their horse racing in Canberra. This is happening less and less, so hopefully you are able to contribute something positive to making Canberra racing dynamic, progressive and enjoyable once again.

And that is from the industry. This is from a gentleman who does not have to be here. These are the words of a gentleman who can go somewhere else and win more money with the horses that he would prefer to have trained in Canberra, that he would prefer to race in Canberra, that he would prefer to have win in Canberra. But if gentlemen like that, who are the backbone of the industry, are pulling out because of the mismanagement of this minister, then we have a real problem.

I commend the motion to the house. (Time expired.)

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (5:29): I am pleased we have the opportunity to debate this matter this afternoon, because at the heart of this issue is responsible government and responsible budget management. But before I go to that, I think it is worth putting this debate in context. So I will spend a few moments summarising the context in which the government and the industry are operating.

As Mr Smyth has identified in his motion, the racing industry across this country is experiencing massive change, and the ACT industry is not immune from this change. The ACT racing industry has traditionally relied on a percentage of the turnover of the taxpayer-owned betting agency, ACTTAB, for funding. ACTTAB has been facing and continues to face a reduction in its turnover in the future as a result of increased competition in the wagering market and increased commercialisation of the racing industry.

Historically, state and territory governments have made arrangements through their TABs to find local racing industries. Since the 1960s, all jurisdictions have provided racing funding through an arrangement with their exclusively licensed TAB betting provider. This has involved the state or territory government establishing a monopoly totalisator betting provider with a proportion of the revenue generated by the local TAB allocated to the local racing industry.

Although there have been some reforms, most notably with TAB privatisations in some states, the racing funding structure with its inherent regulatory protections has


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