Nag­ging doubts

MPS AND IN­DUS­TRY FEAR IM­PACTS OF SELLING BET­TING AGENCY

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page - Su­sanne Reilly

As the State Gov­ern­ment plans to sell the TAB, rac­ing in­dus­try work­ers say they are wor­ried about the ef­fects it will have on the lo­cal rac­ing in­dus­try.

WITH the State Gov­ern­ment’s plan to sell the TAB go­ing ahead, rac­ing in­dus­try work­ers say they are wor­ried what it will do to lo­cal rac­ing.

Vice pres­i­dent of the WA Rac­ing Train­ers As­so­ci­a­tion John Lugg said the sale of the TAB would dec­i­mate lo­cal rac­ing.

“We are all wor­ried about how the de­ci­sion to sell the TAB will af­fect the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of lo­cal rac­ing,” he said.

“The in­dus­try is al­ready suf­fer­ing from the un­cer­tainty around its fu­ture.”

Premier Colin Bar­nett de­tailed in the state’s 2015-16 Bud­get that the de­ci­sion to sell the TAB and pur­sue a sen­si­ble pro­gram of as­set sales would en­able the Gov­ern­ment to build new in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port growth with­out putting fur­ther pres­sure on the state’s fi­nances.

But op­po­si­tion spokesman for rac­ing and gam­ing Mick Mur­ray said the Gov­ern­ment needed to heed warn­ings from Queens­land about the con­di­tion of its rac­ing in­dus­try un­der a pri­va­tised TAB.

Mr Mur­ray said Rac­ing Queens­land re­cently an­nounced it was bur­dened with “mount­ing and un­sus­tain­able losses”.

He said there was no clearer warn­ing about where the WA rac­ing would be in 10 or 15 years if it were sold.

“The num­bers don’t lie and Queens­land’s Rac­ing and Gam­ing Min­is­ter has now had to in­ter­vene to try to re­store some sort of work­able fu­ture for their in­dus­try,” he said.

Bel­mont MLA Glenys God­frey and East Metropoli­tan MLC Sa­man­tha Rowe have vis­ited rac­ing in­dus­try work­ers in re­cent weeks.

“Although the cur­rent TAB sys­tem has some flaws, it works well in gen­eral and does not neg­a­tively im­pact on the State Gov- ern­ment,” Ms God­frey said.

“Pri­vatis­ing the TAB ex­poses the WA rac­ing in­dus­try to more risks, so the feed­back I get ev­ery time I go to the races at Bel­mont is the in­dus­try would pre­fer to work on the ar­eas that need im­prove­ment and not sell the TAB.”

Ms Rowe said train­ers in As­cot were very con­cerned about the im­pact of the TAB sale on the lo­cal in­dus­try and on the WA rac­ing in­dus­try more broadly.

“The train­ers know the sale of the TAB is not about pro­duc­ing a ben­e­fit to the rac­ing in­dus­try,” she said.

“The TAB sup­ports thou­sands of jobs around the state, and many here in Bel­mont. It also in­jects mil­lions of dol­lars into WA rac­ing ev­ery year.”

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek d441452 DO YOU WANT TO SEE THE TAB PRI­VA­TISED? www.com­mu­ni­tynews.com.au

WA Race Train­ers As­so­ci­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent John Lugg with East Metropoli­tan Re­gion MLC

Sa­man­tha Rowe.

www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d441452 Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek

Mem­ber for East Metro Sa­man­tha Rowe with trainer and vice pres­i­dent of the WA Race Train­ers As­so­ci­a­tion John Lugg.

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