MP Shane Love MLA says he will not support the sale of the WA TAB without a demonstrated and preserved benefit for race clubs in Moore.
The comments come after the McGowan Government announced this week it would sell the TAB despite years of railing against such a move in Opposition.
Mr Love said increased competition from online bookmakers had left the WA TAB vulnerable in the digital age and he was not opposed to a sale if it meant race clubs in Moore could use the proceeds to set up their future.
“Despite the herculean effort put in by volunteers to ensure racing at clubs such as Moora, Mingenew, Dongara and Toodyay continue to hold their Cup day and other race meets, we know country racing is struggling,” Mr Love said.
“We must ensure that any proposed sale of the WA TAB includes an iron-clad guarantee that our race clubs and industry participants reap the benefits.
“I will not be supporting the sale if the proceeds are simply pumped back into city racing or to line the Treasurer’s pockets ahead of the next election.
“We’ve already seen Labor syphon far too much money out of the bush in their short time in Government.”
Racing and gaming spokesperson Colin Holt said he feared Labor would treat the TAB sale as a revenue raising exercise instead of an opportunity to enrich the livelihoods of thousands of people across regional WA involved in the racing industry.
“The Nationals will need to see the finer details relating to the conditions of the sale before committing support to the package,” he said.
“I will be working closely with Shane Love to ensure the best interests of race clubs and participants in Moore are served in any potential sale.”
Addressing Labor’s announcement of legislation detailing a new point of consumption (POC) tax, Mr Holt said the entire tax take should be returned to WA’s racing sector – not just 30 per cent as flagged by the Government.
“The POC tax was always touted as a mechanism to ensure corporate bookmakers pay their fair share to the WA industry,” Mr Holt said.
“What the Government is now saying, though, is they’re only going to return 30 per cent of that tax back to the industry.
“This is purely compensation for what the tax will cost Racing and Wagering Western Australia, not a fillip for the industry as touted by the Minister.
“The bottom line is this is industry money – 70 per cent of which will now flow elsewhere including, dare I say it, a healthy percentage to Labor’s election commitments.”