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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1640 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Racing is a funny business, as are the relationships that work there. But, certainly, if New South Wales does not close down sports bookmakers in the ACT, what it would want is some form of repatriation of some of the turnover tax of betting to the point of origin of the bet and to the jurisdiction where the actual race takes place. So it would be looking for, if you like, abandonment of the gentleman's agreement where everybody just took their own.

That is what they are claiming. At the same time, I have information in front of me that tells me that, in the overall context, New South Wales is a net importer of racing product in terms of the amount of punt that they get through their TAB Limited, and how much of it relates to New South Wales racing versus that outside. So maybe Mr Face isn't on the ball or maybe that is not what he is after either. So exactly, I am not sure. I might know a little bit more by the next time we sit because I am off to Adelaide tomorrow for the ministerial council meeting of racing ministers, and a number of papers put forward, certainly by New South Wales and Victoria, incorporate this repatriation process.

A small jurisdiction like the ACT is very much likely to be an net importer. When the guys sit around the pub or they go out to our race meetings, or they go to the auditorium in particular, they are more likely to bet on races outside the ACT than they are on the ACT races. So we in the ACT are a net importer of racing and, depending on the view you take, we could be seen as, excuse the pun, riding on the back of the other jurisdictions. But, at the same time, I think the ACT makes a tremendous contribution to the racing industry in New South Wales. It makes a tremendous contribution to racing in this region. As you are well aware, it has produced some damn good trainers, a few really good horses, two Golden Slipper winners-only one got knocked off, so it was only 11/2, really.

So I cannot answer your question specifically, but we have certainly had some speculation as to the motivation. If you take away all the Machiavellian stuff, you have to say, "Look, there is a genuine concern here." If you get the large proprietary bookmakers, someone like Ladbrokes, coming into Australia, setting up, say, in the Northern Territory, they could, with modern communication, quite effectively compete with and have great advantage over the TABs and the structure of the TABs around Australia. That would cost governments money in turnover tax. It would also cost the industry itself money in terms of the racing development fund and we could be headed towards the British situation, which is now described as "racing for ribbons". That is what the English racing industry has come down to, because the betting process is quite independent of the production of the product. In Australia we have had cross-subsidy and we will need cross-subsidy to have quality racing. I hope we can come to a commonsense solution over the next few days.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, isn't the Thoroughbred Racing Board, which is one of the organisations that were so critical of sports betting in the ACT, the same Thoroughbred Racing Board that last year bent its own rules to allow the readmission of Robbie Waterhouse as a bookmaker?


: Yes, I think that might be the case, but, of course, I think they now regret that. But I cannot answer for them, and I am not going to malign people or examine their motives. At this stage my main focus is trying to make sure that the

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