Racing and Gaming Minister Norman Moore said today that the Labor Party was offering the racing industry $16 million of taxpayers’ money - the equivalent of four new primary schools - with no strings attached and then promising an inquiry to see if the industry needed it.
“This irresponsible vote-buying proposal shows that Labor has learned nothing from its last term in government,” Mr Moore said.
“Our Government has never ruled out giving the industry further assistance, but we will only do so following the outcome of the Racing Industry Review we announced last month.”
Mr Moore said that since 1992-93, the industry had received $95 million of additional Government support following the reduction of the TAB turnover tax from six per cent to five per cent, together with other support measures.
In addition, growth in TAB business had seen a further $65 million injected into the industry over that time.
“Dr Gallop is seeking to create the impression that all the industry’s problems began on July 1 when the Federal Government’s GST was introduced,” the Minister said.
“This shows a serious lack of understanding of the industry’s problems.
“However, the State Government’s inquiry will assess the impact of the GST on the racing industry, although preliminary Treasury advice suggests that the GST is being unfairly blamed for some of the longer-term structural problems facing the Western Australian racing industry.
“Legislation currently before State Parliament, which will give the Minister for Racing and Gaming discretion in respect to TAB distribution above $50 million, will see urgent financial support being provided next month to areas most in need, including country and provincial thoroughbred racing and trotting.”
Mr Moore said long-term industry figures would view Dr Gallop’s promises cynically, as they well remembered the decision of the Burke Government to increase the TAB turnover tax from six per cent to seven per cent from 1983 to 1988.
This action severely damaged the financial viability of the industry and led to a reduction in the TAB turnover for the first time in history.
Media contact: Hartley Joynt, Minister’s office, 9321 1444