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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 638 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

those circumstances, what has happened is that the racing industry - which includes the gallops, the trots and the greyhounds - has ended up with some assurances for ongoing funding that is at the same sorts of levels as the current Racecourse Development Fund money. So, the racing industry has been protected, as have the licence fees, which come back to governments. So, that is basically how sales have occurred in other States.

As we know, there has been no decision at all to sell in the ACT. We are in the process of a scoping study. I understand that there have been seven responses to the scoping study - a huge public interest in this. I have not seen those submissions, and I would not. So, I am not sure whether there is one from the racing industry. The racing industry has indicated that, if there is any sell-off, it would like the ACT to handle it in the same way as other States have done. I think one of the things we have to remember about the racing industry is that it employs a lot of people - in fact, a few hundred people in the ACT. So, it is an important industry. It does bring quite a lot of tourism into the ACT. So, the future of the racing industry in the ACT is something that will be very important to us in any decision that is made with regard to ACTTAB in the future.

MR RUGENDYKE: I have a quick supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Has the Government been involved in any discussions at any level with an independent group of private investors planning a bid for ACTTAB?

MS CARNELL: I cannot make a comment about whether the Government has been involved at any level. I can certainly speak about my level. A number of people have spoken to me about being interested in the potential sale of ACTTAB, and that is exactly what I would expect. In fact, a lot of people speak to me about the potential sale of lots of things, really, and ACTTAB is one of them. But there has been no particular independent group. A lot of people have indicated that they would be interested. I suppose that you have only to look at the success of the New South Wales Labor Government's float of their TAB to see that there are a lot of investors interested in these sorts of assets.

Release of Prisoner

MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Minister for Justice, Mr Humphries. I indicated to Mr Humphries that I would be asking this question. I draw your attention, Minister, to an article that appeared in the Daily Telegraph, I think, last Friday. According to this article, an ACT man with a lengthy criminal record strolled out of Cooma Gaol before his parole was approved, after what the paper says was a bureaucratic bungle. The article goes on to say that the man was mistakenly let loose after a telephone conversation between New South Wales and ACT Corrective Services officers. Minister, my question is this: Was it your fault? Is it common for ACT Corrective Services officers to phone up their counterparts in New South Wales and say, "Hey, let him go. He has done enough time", irrespective of what the judge says? What is the history behind this issue, Mr Humphries?

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