City to consider fighting TAB sale
A BID to oppose the privatisation of the TAB because it could have an adverse impact on the racing industry is set to be voted on at tonight’s City of Belmont council meeting.
Councillor Lauren Cayoun proposed the recommendation backing the move.
“The lifestyles and livelihoods of many residents and ratepayers who depend upon the racing industry will be adversely affected by any decision to privatise the TAB in order to pay down state debt,” she said.
But a staff report said there was “no evidence” the proposed privatisation would have a negative effect on the industry.
The sale of the agency could reportedly add about $1 billion to State Government coffers.
If Cr Cayoun’s recommendation is adopted, the council will write to Racing and Gaming Minister Brendon Grylls, calling on him to not proceed with any privatisation of the agency and to support the Ascot racing industry.
The report said WA was the last State to consider the sale of its TAB. “The long-term effect or benefits of the sales in other States is not clear,” it said.
The State Government has been discussing the potential sale of the TAB for some time as part of its long-term asset sales plan to cut State debt.
Treasury has stated that the Government was consulting with the racing industry to develop an agreed solution for a sale and industry funding structure.
The structure would enable the Government to realise the value of the TAB while also ensuring the racing industry remained strongly supported into the future.
“The City is aware that a number of stakeholders in this review are currently looking at options available to address the issue and come to an appropriate solution,” the council staff report said.
“However, there is no clear position available to date, and no evidence that the privatisation will have an adverse impact upon the racing industry.”
The report said Racing and Wagering WA was negotiating with the Government in relation to the potential sale of the TAB.
“At this point, there is no proposed ‘deal on the table’,” it said.
“Once a proposal has been made, and there is an understanding of the proposal, the chief executive officer of Racing and Wagering WA is prepared to brief council on the proposal.”
Cr Cayoun originally moved the motion in March, but it had been deferred until tonight’s meeting following consultation with industry stakeholders and further discussion at the council’s August 9 information forum.
A spokesman for Mr Grylls told the Southern Gazette that he would only support a sale of the WA TAB “if it is in the best interests of the racing industry”.