TOTE’s Sports Alive Purchase Was Dead Wrong
– No Wonder Minister Green Ducked Questions

The Tasmanian Greens today expressed their shock at the revelation that TOTE Tasmania has squandered more than $5 million of public money on a bungled purchase of the worthless Sports Alive betting company.

Greens Racing spokesperson Kim Booth MP said it was simply staggering that TOTE Tasmania paid out such a huge amount for Sports Alive when, according to its liquidator, Sports Alive was insolvent.

“This is the stuff of banana republic economics. Spending public money, apparently without consulting the Treasurer, on a failed venture like Sports Alive would be laughable if it wasn’t such a large amount and were not the State’s budget so tight,” said Mr Booth.

“The fact this revelation has come to light vindicates the Greens’ call for the sale of TOTE to be put on hold until all the facts on the table. It is these facts about its true financial health which determine its actual value, and which I will be examining as the Chairman of the Role and Future Viability of TOTE Tasmania Committee.”

“Had the Liberals got their way, all this would have been swept under the carpet, which could have involved the wasting of more public money.”

“The payment of $5m of public money for a worthless entity which the taxpayer then has to write off raises serious questions about ministerial oversight and the competence of the board of this GBE.”

“It is no surprise the Minister for Racing, Bryan Green MP, gave such a halting and inadequate response to the several questions I asked him in Parliament today.”

Question one         “Were you aware of this proposal to invest in Sports Alive before it was concluded?”

Question two                 “Did Tote do any due diligence and were you satisfied?”

Question three       “On what date were you advised that Tote had lost this massive sum?”

Question four         “What action have you taken since?”

Question five         “Specifically, do you have confidence in the Board of TOTE, and have you sought to replace the board or any member of the board?”

Question six           “And given that you have not disclosed the loss of over 5 million of public money, has this loss contributed to your decision to sell TOTE, and were you hoping to bury this disastrous loss by the secret sale of TOTE before this matter became public?”

“Although Minister Green refused to or was unable to answer any of these six key questions, he admitted that “advice was not sought from the then Treasurer* [by the TOTE’s Board]” about the investment.

“He also admitted what we all already know that, following TOTE’s massive failed investment “the performance of Sports Alive deteriorated*” ”.

“And third, the Minister also admitted that TOTE’s investment would be written off, representing another frankly obscene waste of public money.”

“The Minister attempted to deflect these questions, forget his responsibility and defer it to GBE scrutiny, which I will be doing in any event. However, my questions today related to his position as Minister for Racing, as the shareholder Minister of TOTE and what actions he took. Regrettably, his response suggests he took none.”

“This is a woeful turn of events. The public, whose money TOTE squandered, deserves to know the answers to these important questions, which go to the heart of TOTE’s management, viability, its true financial status and of its potential sale.”

“I will be recommending the Committee looks into this matter to get answers to these questions on behalf of the public and the Greens will not give up until we get them,” said Mr Booth. 
(*Please check Minister’s quotes against the official Hansard record.)