On September 4, 2019, a Bill was passed allowing the State Government to sell the WA TAB.
The proposed sale will benefit the WA racing industry which is to receive 35 per cent of the sale proceeds to go into a racing infrastructure fund. All codes will receive the same operating funds as would have occurred if the proposed sale of the WA TAB did not take place.
In October 2010 I was chairman of an inquiry into the Racing and Wagering Acts Western Australia of which Recommendation 29 called for the establishment of a “special purpose account for the infrastructure fund” and I am pleased that after nine years, this is about to happen.
The sale of the TAB should set the racing codes up for the future and needs careful management to ensure that money is invested wisely into the sports. I spoke on this matter in State Parliament on 19 May 2015:
“The time has come for the industry to be modernised…The government does not want to tell the racing industry where it should be in 40 or 50 years. But we do tell the industry that we understand that the biggest challenge the racing industry faces is infrastructure…There is $100 million of capital investment that the racing industry cannot fund. Privatising the TAB is an opportunity for some of that funding to be put forward to the racing industry to make those changes so it can set itself up for the next 50 years.”
Though it was a Labor Government which brought this legislation to Parliament I was pleased to assist Treasurer Ben Wyatt in its successful passage. He acknowledged me in his media statement for the work done together:
Another pleasing aspect of the new legislation was that 65 per cent of the proceeds will go towards building a new women’ s hospital in Perth.