City to con­sider fight­ing TAB sale

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT -

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”.

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