Wednesday 4. May, 2016

WA Premier Rejects Central Role for Racing Industry in TAB Sale

The racing industry has been dealt a blow by Western Australian premier Colin Barnett who has said that the industry will not have a central role in the privatisation of the TAB in WA. WA Racing Representative Group was selected to represent the three racing codes – thoroughbred, harness and greyhound, but their push to have a greater role in handling the sale has been rejected.

The group expressed frustration at the slow pace of the negotiations and wants to establish some ground rules for negotiations with the government. They have completed an industry requirements report stating the needs of the WA racing industry for the future; however they want ground rules established before submitting the report.

Mr Barnett has responded that while the industry will be consulted, it will not handle the sales process.

“The industry is not going to be handling the privatisation of the TAB,” he said. “Some may think they will, but the Government will handle that.”

“It’s a government process. It’s a government asset and the government will sell it. But we will certainly involve the industry and take advice, but they will not be party to the privatisation.”

Mr Barnett continued to add that the industry will be privy to what the Government will do with the proceeds of the sale and that the industry needs to set out which venues will be upgraded.

“The state government is not going to pour tens of millions of dollars into duplicate venues,” he stressed. “We want the racing industry to work out exactly which venues will be maintained, and then we’ll help the racing industry upgrade those venues.”

Michael Grant, a spokesman for the WA Racing Representative Group said he was “staggered” by the comments from the premier.

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