submitted by Sydney Morning Herald on 21.05.2014
V'landys cries foul after NSW government offers $10m loans instead of grants
Racing NSW in funding row with NSW Government
Sydney Morning Herald. May 21st, 2014. Sport page 41
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys has taken the gloves off as he fights to retain $10 million in funding for the sport's showcase, The Championships, and for the future of racing in NSW.
The racing chief was left fuming about an offer of a $10 million loan to industry to run the event for the next four years by Premier Mike Baird, who has yet to met with racing officials. It was an offer that had been originally turned down six months ago.
However Racing NSW's main aim is to have a funding model that would put it on equal footing with other states.
"We have been working with the Premier's department for more than 12 months on the [TAB] funding model and The Championships is only part of it," V'landys said. "We are looking at TAB distribution model, which would give us another $90 million that would be used for prizemoney increases around the states.
"The TAB distribution is inequitable when compared to other states and all we want to be in the same position as Victoria."
The State government takes $3.22 from every $100 wagered on the tote, which is more than double the $1.28 take by Victoria. V'landys said the future of racing in NSW was dependant on getting the TAB model changed and had delayed the release of Racing NSW's strategic plan for more then a year.
"The $10 million to run The Championships this year was just a downpayment on the $90 million we would get every year if we had the same funding model as Victoria," V'landys said.
"We can't plan for the future until this is cleared up, it is holding back racing at every level.
"We are working under a ridiculous funding model that worked in the 1960-70s but is outdated in 2014 with the new world wagering that includes corporate bookmakers.
"The NSW government takes out more than any other state now and we were negotiating a level playing field."
The TAB distribution is not growing in real terms and it is one of the major concerns for the racing industry. The racefields fees paid by all wagering operators, which V'landys led the fight on, has gone some way to filling the income gap for the sport.
Fairfax Media understands Premier Baird has not met with racing officials since he took over from Barry O'Farrell last month. He had not made contact with Racing NSW about the loan.
"This is something we rejected six months ago," V'landys said. "We had a good working relationship with the former premier but we won't be rolling over and taking a loan, which we will have to payback, therefore cutting our TAB distribution further.
"This Championships has shown it grows wagering, so under the loan plan the government doesn't only get it $10 million back, it shares in the profits of the event.
"How is that fair?"
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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