Labor and Liberal Parties Hand Millions to Gambling Industry

Today the Labor and Liberal Parties joined hands to hand millions of dollars in tax concessions to the racing and gambling industries. We should be investing in health and education, not splashing money on the racing and gambling industries. 


Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) [6.26 p.m.]: I make a brief contribution to debate on the Betting Legislation Amendment Bill 2015. My Greens colleague Mr Jamie Parker has outlined why The Greens oppose the bill. I place on record my utter disgust at this Government and the Labor Opposition joining hands to provide millions of dollars in tax concessions to the racing industry. Who will benefit from this legislation? Will it be those vulnerable people who are struggling to make ends meet? Will it be those vulnerable people who are struggling with housing affordability in Sydney? Will it be the parents and the children who are struggling with costs because of the lack of investment in public education? Will it be the sick and elderly who want more services and support in the community? We are here to represent the interests of our communities. This legislation will take money from those communities and give it to the racing and gambling industries.

In the lead-up to the State election I was disgusted to see the Labor Party announce its support for these tax concessions. It is appalling that the racing industry will receive millions of dollars in tax concessions when so many other important things need to be funded in this State. The member for Barwon suggested that The Greens are somehow un-Australian and supportive of a nanny state because we oppose the bill. I spent my childhood going to the races in Adelaide. I used to spend my weekends at the Oakbank races; it was one of my favourite times of the year. We would go as a family group, cook breakfast on the barbeque and then watch the races. But since then I have been enlightened—I saw horses get shot behind a screen at Oakbank—and I can no longer support jumps races because of the damage caused to the horses.

I am one of the many who support the protection of animals and animal rights in our community. While, as a child, I enjoyed going to the races and saw it as a fun festival, it was much more about the carnival rides than about watching the horseracing. The reality is that the damage to the horses and the abuse of animal rights in those circumstances is unacceptable and is a huge risk. I come from a family of proud punters who enjoy putting a bet on the races. But in this situation we need to ask: Should this money be spent on providing concessions to the racing industry?

This is not about being un-Australian. This is not about supporting a nanny state. This is about asking whether, when we have millions of dollars to spend, we should be providing tax concessions to the racing industry. Should we instead, as the elected representatives of our communities, spend that money on the vulnerable by investing in education, health care and essential services? If we asked people in the community what we should spend the money on, they would say we should spend it on those things, not on tax concessions for the racing industry.


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