Page 4465 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013

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document that was brought to the Assembly was quite simple, and it was simple because it was, in effect, the winding up and off it went.

Today is a different issue. Today we leave behind an industry. Once ACTTAB is sold—and it would appear the numbers are here for it to go ahead—there will still be an industry. There will be a large number of staff at ACTTAB that need to be looked after. The government have not, in their motion, given any indication how they will do some of the other things that the community is asking of them.

I know that the industry—it is on Thoroughbred Park letterhead but it was sent on behalf of all of the industry and was signed by Peter Stubbs, Chief Executive, Canberra Racing Cub; Ashley Dwyer, Chairman, Canberra Greyhound Racing Club; and Greg Nugent, General Manager, Canberra Harness Racing Club—on 25 October sent a letter to the minister about some of the outcomes that they wanted. They said not to follow the PricewaterhouseCoopers report and wanted confirmation the government was going to sell. Indeed, Ted Quinlan the following day—I think it was the Tony Campbell race day—announced the government was going sell ACTTAB. So he knew. The government just took a long time to come to the same decision.

In the letter, the racing industry’s preferred outcome is as follows: that there be a sale of ACTTAB’s business, with a condition that it ensures appropriate funding for the ACT racing industry’s racing product; that the sale of ACTTAB be to a major wagering operator with the highest level of integrity and racing industry understanding; that the funding arrangements are consistent with other jurisdictions to ensure the ACT racing industry’s viability and maintenance of parity of prize money with interstate clubs; that the funding arrangements allow the racing industry to be self-reliant and sustainable in the long term; and that appropriate transition and/or support arrangements are put in place for ACTTAB staff. They are perhaps not unreasonable conditions to ask the government to meet. I have simply cut and pasted those. I give full credit to the authors of the document. I have simply taken them and put them into an amendment that I will move before I finish. It says that we would like the government to ensure those five outcomes I have just listed.

If we are going to change the governance and we are going to sell ACTTAB, then we need to look at the consequences. The government will take some money. I think I heard the Treasurer say on the radio this morning that it will go to infrastructure. At the same time we have to make sure that we have an industry that is viable. The industry is very important to the ACT. The industry provides a lot of employment to the ACT. It brings business to the ACT, and it is one of the peaks of the equestrian industry in the ACT. By its very nature, it allows stock and station agents, vets and other people that support the horse industry to survive because they bring extra business to those people in the industry here.

There are opportunities in the future. With Sky having extra channels devoted to racing product, there are opportunities to develop, in the long term, new products that will put Canberra on the map in that regard. What are they? It could be—what is it, bold; I forget what the other two words were in the new marketing point—a bold and ready racing industry. So we need to help to make sure that happens. The changes today and the guidance that this place gives the government in regard to the sale should include that.

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