Racing income and local economies to suffer

As many tourists travel to our border communities for a well-earned break after COVID-19 travel restrictions ease on Monday, Victorian townships will miss this economic boost with New South Wales offering more for tourists. It will also impact our state’s racing industry income.

The New South Wales Government has announced it is opening pub-TABs and gaming facilities from Monday, while Victoria’s will sit idle – disadvantaging the Victorian Racing Industry and Victorian small business.

On every bet placed, a percentage is returned to the industry in that state, so we will now have a situation, for example, where you cannot have a bet in a pub-TAB in Wodonga, but can drive five minutes to bet in Albury.

This will be duplicated right along the Murray River at locations like Echuca – Moama, Cobram – Barooga, Yarrawonga – Mulwala and Mildura – Wentworth. Many of these are major country racing towns.

It will also hurt local economies as those who like a social wager will drive the extra five minutes and all the associated revenue from their holiday will go to New South Wales.

In announcing that from Monday, pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants can have up to 50 customers and gaming returns, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, the move was about safely bringing back thousands of jobs in an effort to rebuild their local communities.

It's a vastly different story over the border in Victoria where our publicans do not even have a date as to when they can resume these activities.

Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Michael O’Brien:

“Victoria is losing jobs and businesses to NSW because of delays in safely easing restrictions.

“The coronavirus restrictions have flattened the curve, but they’ve also flattened Victorian businesses.

“We need to get businesses opening their doors and Victorians back to work. If NSW can do it, so should we”.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Racing, Tim Bull:

“It makes no sense that you can have a bet in a pub-TAB in Albury but not in Wodonga.

“Victorian businesses are missing out of income because NSW is opening up, but we’re not.”

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