Page 4467 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013

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down to where ACT gambling money should be spent in coming years and trying to chose between some of the competing interests, investing in upgrading ACTTAB to keep up with the fast moving gambling industry would be pretty much at the bottom of my list. On that basis, I am also quite comfortable with the sale.

I think that there are important matters to be considered. As Mr Smyth noted, I have prepared an amendment. He has also prepared one. I think we are heading in a similar direction. There are some factors that we want to take into account when it comes to how the sale should be proceeding. I do not think at this point that we want to be too prescriptive about the sort of conditions that should be put in place around the sale.

I think it is quite appropriate that the government be given a healthy bit of latitude to negotiate with prospective buyers. I think that is quite important to maximise the return for the ACT and also to maximise the number of potential bidders. If we do put too strict conditions or too tight conditions, it may be that that does not suit the business models of some operators. I think the sort of broad values that are described in the various amendments are moving in the right sort of a direction.

I guess the difference that I have taken with Mr Smyth’s amendments is simply that I felt that the framework put forward by the racing industry and some of the other comments they have made were locking us down a bit far. That is why I came up with something that, on the face of it, is a little more generic whilst getting across the key points.

Rather than drag out the debate today, I simply wanted to put on the record my view that I support the government moving to sell ACTTAB. I think there are some important things to be taken into account, such as employee welfare, ensuring that the local racing industry is not negatively affected, that the way the sale takes place provides an ongoing level of support and also, for me particularly, ensuring that the successful party not only has the appropriate experience but also has a recognised level of integrity in its gaming operations. I think that is something we would need to be mindful of to make sure that the operator, who will continue to have a presence in the local community one imagines, is the sort of person who we want doing business in this town and doing business in the gambling industry.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (5.07): I will speak to Mr Smyth’s amendments. The government will not be supporting Mr Smyth’s amendments. We consider that the agreement of the Assembly to sell ACTTAB should not be constrained by conditions as prescriptive as Mr Smyth has put forward, particularly those that attempt to weight the outcomes of the sale process towards the interests of one particular party.

The government needs to ensure that multiple outcomes are met. We need to ensure primarily that a fair and reasonable price is returned to the territory on behalf of the community. Any benefits of a sale should be shared appropriately and that includes, most importantly, to the broader benefit of the community.

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