The McGowan Government has betrayed Western Australia’s racing industry with its stunning backflip on the sale of the WA TAB.
The Nationals WA racing spokesperson Colin Holt MLC said the Premier’s comments that the TAB sale may now not go ahead because of potential damage to the State’s credit rating were a “slap in the face” to the tens of thousands of West Australians whose livelihood was dependent on racing.
“During my almost two years as Minister for Racing and Gaming we were able to bring the industry to a united position that the sale of the TAB was in its best interests,” Mr Holt said.
“We initiated and carried out a club-by-club consultation across the State to ensure the industry was well informed of the benefits and risks associated with a sale.
“Our efforts, along with the hard work of the WA Racing Representative Group, forced Labor’s hand to commit to a TAB sale prior to the election.
“Labor has now broken that promise.”
Mr Holt said at an industry meeting late last year chaired by his successor in the Racing portfolio, Brendon Grylls, every representative body from all three codes, including owner and breeder associations, voted to support a sale.
“The Nationals are of the strong belief that the TAB belongs to the WA racing industry,” Mr Holt said.
“The Nationals were the only party that went to the March election with a policy to ensure all proceeds from the sale of the TAB would be retained by the industry.”
Mr Holt said at no point in his time as Racing Minister, or as the parliamentary secretary to former Minister Grylls, was advice received by Treasury that the sale of the TAB would adversely affect the State’s credit rating.
“The Premier’s comments have come out of the blue and he must immediately table the advice from Treasury,” Mr Holt said. “The Labor Government are now toying with the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people across the State.
“If the industry agrees that a sale is in its best interest, then the transaction to a private operator should not be determined by any factor other than the industry’s ongoing ability to survive and thrive.”