Page 4466 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013
I also note Mr Rattenbury is going to move an amendment that looks remarkably similar to mine. I assume he got the same letter and had the same thought. I guess it will be the battle of the amendments. But it is clear that the majority of members of the Assembly do expect a great deal more from the government over the sale of ACTTAB before we allow that to proceed, and I would simply ask members to look at the amendment that I will move. It is a request from the industry that will be most affected, the individuals and the clubs that will be most affected, by this change as well as those individual staff who currently work for ACTTAB. I think all here would like some guarantee from the government that appropriate care and resources will be allocated to help them throughout the transition, whatever form that might take and whatever outcome that might have for them.
With that, I move my amendment to Mr Barr’s motion:
Add paragraph (3):
“(3) ensure the following outcomes:
(a) a sale of ACTTAB’s business with a condition that ensures appropriate funding for the ACT racing industry’s racing products;
(b) the sale of ACTTAB to a major waging operator with the highest levels of integrity and racing industry understanding;
(c) that the funding arrangements are broadly consistent with other jurisdictions to ensure the ACT racing industry’s viability and maintenance of parity of prize money with interstate clubs;
(d) that the funding arrangements allow the racing industry to be self-reliant and sustainable in the long term; and
(e) appropriate transition and/or support arrangements are put in place for ACTTAB staff.”.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.02): I will speak now and then seek leave to move my amendment at a later point. In the broad, the sale of ACTTAB is a move that I support. I think it is an appropriate move for the ACT government to be making at this time. I have actually had the opportunity to take this to a meeting of the Greens party and to discuss this with my members. I felt the need to do that because the Greens, as a general principle, do not believe the government should just sell its assets. There is a place, we believe, for government to maintain ownership and in cases where an organisation and operation generates a dividend, to return that to the community as part of government assets. So I was quite keen to explore the issue and that matter of principle with my party members.
I think the overwhelming message that I got back was that the government should not be in the gambling business at all, that in this day and age it was inappropriate for the government to be using its capital to sustain gambling practices. That particularly is underlined by the fact that for ACTTAB to remain competitive in a changing gambling marketplace, significant investment would be needed. Frankly, if it came