I rise to indicate, not without some concern, Liberal Party support for this bill. At the outset, I indicate that, whilst the Liberal Party has been kept in the loop with regard to what has been happening with this legislation, we are particularly disappointed that State Labor Party racing ministers did not get together to sort out some of these issues before the New South Wales State Parliament introduced legislation that has thrown the industry in Australia into turmoil.
All of a sudden, we are being asked to support legislation that will, in fact, be retrospective, and that is hardly a position the Liberal Party would want to support under almost any circumstances. Having said that, we understand the parlous situation of the industry in this state. I indicate that we are very well aware of how far behind the eight ball we are in this state compared with the rest of Australia with regard to prize money, certainly in relation to horse-racing.
In relation to a recent Saturday race meeting, South Australia’s total prize money was $213,000. In Victoria, given that it was the spring carnival and they had two group 2 races, their total prize money was $1.32 million; New South Wales, $560,000; Queensland, $405,000; and in Western Australia, they raced for $900,000 on the Saturday. So, we are hardly in a position to disadvantage the industry in this state at all.
From the outset, I must say how grateful we are to minister Zollo for organising some crown law advice for us which we had some interest in. We were pleased to have that cooperation. We have raised concerns and, while we could hardly say that we look into a crystal ball on this side, I want it on the record that we can see serious challenges coming to this legislation, from, in particular, the Northern Territory corporate bookmakers who really have been the target of this legislation from New South Wales. It annoys me that a lot more consultation and consideration could not have been given to the other states and the effects on the other states.
I have had circulated to me an amendment that has been proposed by the Hon. Robert Brokenshire and, whilst from the outset it looks as if that amendment down the track could have some merit, it is a fair concern to us on this side that the industry in particular is desperately keen to have this legislation passed. Without the opposition consulting all stakeholders with regard to the amendment that the Hon. Robert Brokenshire proposes, it is very difficult for us on this side at this point to be able to support it. That is not to say that we could not perhaps revisit it possibly next year, given proper procedures and a reasonable amount of time.
I suspect that we are going to have to revisit this legislation down the track in any case. We will watch with great interest to see some of the challenges that we think will probably come. We on this side of the council will do everything we can to support the racing industry and, because of that, we obviously support a reasonably speedy passage of the bill.