The WA Government on Collision Course Over The TAB Sale
The Sale of the Australian TAB has been at the center of a lot of controversy, as it seems that the Government of West Australia is going to be on a collision course with the racing industry over the proposed deal. There is also a lot of speculation that the racing industry is going to withdraw all of its support for that move. This is because there has been a lot of disagreement of how the government owned wagering agency’s sale should be carried out.
The WARRG (West Australia Racing Representative Group), which is an industry setup by the 3 racing codes in order to carry out the negotiations with the WA Government seems to be adopting an official position which is against the sale. The main reason behind that position is the absence of a responsible commercial engagement process. It is also expected that the group is going to have a sit down with the Racing and Wagering WA this Friday to see if things can be discussed to move forward.
The main figures of the industry have always been pushing for the existence of a funded program for engagement with the WA Government. This was aiming to ensure that during any sale conditions, it would ensure the protection of the sector’s viability in the long term. On the other hand, 2 years following the 1st flagging for the privatization, the industry is still concerned at the of implications that it would have on the racing industry, as well as the lack of any kind of formal process.
The WARGG has wrote to Premier Barnett, over a week ago, seeking much needed clarification, especially after he has rejected the point of view of the sale of the industry, as they want it to be a tripartite transaction that would involve the purchaser, the industry and the government. Earlier Mr. Barnett attended a meeting with the group last March in order to discuss consultation and engagement issues.
In a letter that was dated May tenth, Mr. Barnett stated to Michael Grant , the chairman of the WARRG, that he is still abiding by the public statement that the process of the privatization of the TAB is going to be driven by the government and not the industry.
He wrote that the racing industry and its views about the sale are highly appreciated, on the other hand, he stated that he made it clear in their meetings as well as the media that the government is seeking to work with the industry, but still, it is the government that is fully responsible for the process of the sale. Still, the government is seeking the consultation with the industry so they can reach a good understanding.