Page 4463 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

On 22 November, the government announced that it intended to pursue the sale of ACTTAB Ltd. I now seek the support of this Assembly to the motion, which provides for the sale of ACTTAB either through the disposal of ACTTAB’s main undertakings or the sale of the shares in ACTTAB.

Part 1(a) of the motion relates to a share sale. In order to enable the shares of ACTTAB to be sold, it will be necessary to amend the Territory-owned Corporations Act 1990 to remove ACTTAB from schedule 1 of the act. A bill to give effect to the required legislative change will be introduced into the Assembly during the implementation of the sale when more is known about the preferred form of sale for the successful buyer.

Part 1(b) concerns the sale of ACTTAB’s main undertakings. This is in accordance with section 16 subsection (4)(a) of the Territory-owned Corporations Act which prevents the disposal of the main undertakings unless approved by the Legislative Assembly.

Part 2 of the motion reflects the need to also amend the constitution of ACTTAB in the event of a share sale. This is in keeping with clause 4 of the constitution which prevents any changes that are inconsistent with the Territory-owned Corporations Act 1990 unless by resolution that has been passed by the Legislative Assembly. The changes to the constitution would be determined during final negotiations about the terms of the share sale and would take effect from the sale completion date.

There are strong grounds to support the government’s decision to sell ACTTAB. The ACTTAB future options feasibility study that was undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the best option for the territory taxpayers would be to sell the business. There are serious risks to the government in continuing to own ACTTAB which are likely to increase in the current market environment. As a stand-alone entity, ACTTAB is finding it increasingly difficult to remain competitive due to a range of factors, including relatively high operating costs and limited technology.

Due to a lack of scale and government funding limitations, ACTTAB’s competitive position will continue to erode as it struggles to overcome more and more customers choosing to access wagering products online. It is obvious that a sale would remove the significant commercial risks that would otherwise fall on the taxpayers.

Selling ACTTAB also provides the opportunity for the government to receive a higher upfront return compared to retaining ownership. This is because the new owner would be better able to manage risks by achieving economies of scale and scope and is likely to pay a premium to acquire ACTTAB’s exclusive licence and its existing customer base.

The government is also intent on reinvesting the sale proceeds for the benefit of the community. Rather than stipulating the type of sale up front, we have chosen to let potential purchasers present their best offering, irrespective of whether it involves buying the shares to acquire the company outright or selectively purchasing the main undertakings such as the exclusive licence. As the preferences for each purchaser may

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video