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Federal Group - Casino Tax Rates

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Tags: Federal Group, Pokies, Gambling Industry


I am still on the same theme actually, Mr Speaker, and what is in the best interests of Tasmania.

Premier, all the way through the last state election campaign you refused to tell voters what the casino tax you had negotiated with your party's major donor, Federal Group, would be for EGMs. You were given repeated opportunities to be straight up with Tasmanians about the casino pokies tax rate. You dodged, ducked and weaved all the way to the poll. The same goes with your colleague, the Finance minister, Mr Ferguson. Shameless deception from both of you.

Now Tasmanians know you negotiated a discount tax rate with the Federal Group last December, and the legislation in which this gift is wrapped was drafted before you called an election a year early.

Why could you not be straight with Tasmanians before you went to the polls? Is it because you knew they would be angry if they knew you had effectively given away $250 million from the state Budget over the next 20 years? Is that the best deal for Tasmania?



Mr Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for her question and ongoing interest in this matter.

I made this point last week: what you forget and you are not prepared to talk about is that Federal Hotels - who you love to deride, and love to stick the boot into - have lost $20 million as a result of this deal.

Ms O'Connor - After the billions they have made over the past 40 years, how disingenuous could you be.

Mr SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr GUTWEIN - If you were to look at some of the comments I made in the lead-up to the election

Ms O'Connor - People have taken their lives because of those people.

Mr SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr GUTWEIN - I was very clear. The policy on gaming was dealt with at the 2018 election. What we said was that the state Government would do better out of this. We also said that pubs and clubs would do better out of this, and that the loser would be Federal Hotels. That is exactly what has been delivered.

Ms O'Connor - $250 million bucks! Tell the truth. You cannot even say it clearly because it is a lie.

Mr SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor.

Mr GUTWEIN - I know it does not suit the member's aims. I said during the lead-up to the election campaign that in terms of tax rates, you need to look at the bundle. You cannot just focus on one tax line, which is exactly what you want to do to make your political point. You need to focus on the bundle.

Ms O'Connor - I'm focusing on the Federal Group, your donor.

Mr GUTWEIN - She says, 'our donor'. Well, we just clipped them $20 million -

Ms O'Connor - That is small change.

Mr SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, I ask you not to interject, to be respectful in this place. You have asked a question of the Premier. I expect the Premier to be heard in silence.

Mr GUTWEIN - Cabinet considered the final package after the election. That has now been put out for public consultation. Importantly - and the member knows this - this parliament, both the lower and upper Houses, will make the final decision on what is in that legislation. When the deals were first cut, that was not the case. Deeds of arrangement were put in place. That is not occurring this time around.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker. The Premier has avoided the question about why he was not honest with Tasmanians during the campaign about the casino pokies tax rate.

Mr SPEAKER - It is not a point of order.

Mr GUTWEIN - Mr Speaker, the point I have made is that the package needs to be looked at as a bundle. That bundle is now transparently out there for consultation. It will come before both Houses of parliament, as it properly should.

The member wants to focus on one particular tax line. It is the bundle, Mr Speaker. For Federal Hotels - which again the member will not talk about - it costs them $20 million a year on the current deal. The state does better, and so do pubs and clubs.

Mr SPEAKER - I call the the member for Clark.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker. Without disrespecting the ruling, can I ask why you would go to a Government member when the Independent member for Clark has stood up and is actually asking a question?

Mr SPEAKER - There is a jump. I get to choose when people jump together. The Government has not had a question yet. There have been three questions put already this morning. I will maintain that system as we go along. I call the member for Clark, Ms Ogilvie.