Andrew Wilkie in his latest media release reckons the Federal Group is “set to pocket an enormous $18
million windfall if the Liberals win government.”
The figure is $75 million.
There’s obviously a bit of misunderstanding about how the Libs’ pokie
industry welfare policy works. The value of pubs and clubs with pokies will
receive a boost with increased pokie commission. If the venues are given
licenses for a set period, then the amount of those future commissions will
reflect in enhanced capital values of venues. If the licenses are in perpetuity,
then the value of pubs and clubs with pokies will increase by $250 million.
tuned into the latest Love Your Local promo on the LYL facebook page featuring
the Beach Hotel Burnie. It was surprisingly frank. Whilst it only gave half the
story that half was reasonably truthful. But telling only half the story can be misleading.
easy to summarise the Libs’ pokie policy. They have simply adopted THA and Federal
Group’s position. Without amendment.
Rebecca White moved the goalposts the Libs were left flatfooted with a urgent
need to find a plausible alternative.
despite the mountain of evidence presented to the parliamentary inquiry plus its
72 findings and 23 recommendations, despite its own post 2023 framework that specified allocation of venue licenses by
a market based mechanism, the Libs opted instead to adopt the THA/ Federal
proposal in its entirety, a proposal lodged so late in the life of the
parliamentary committee it didn’t have enough time to consider it in detail.
the clock ticks over to start what is bound to be a watershed year for the Federal
Group, few will take as much interest as the Group’s bankers. Rebecca White’s
undertaking to remove pokies from community pubs and clubs after 2023 should
she be successful at the March 2018 election will precipitate a major overhaul.
in 2016 Federal Group was treading water. The most recent financials reveal
there was no improvement in the 2017 year. Specifically:
was the same at $512 million.
increased slightly causing net operating cash to continue its downward slide
from $51 million to $46 million. That’s the lowest figure since 2001, sixteen
profit before tax fell from $28 million to $20 million.
profit after tax fell to $14 million.
per usual shareholders drew out most of the after tax profits. Dividends of $11
million were paid in 2017. Since pokies in pubs started in 1997 shareholders
have withdrawn $250 million in dividends.
hungry tourism businesses can’t keep up that level of dividend payments without
borrowings. Another $4.5 million was needed. Capex spending was $31 million, about $20 million more than the inadequate annual spend of the last few years. The fit out of MACg01was probably the reason for this increase.
Adam Brooks left no room for doubt. He confided to The Advocate that Rebecca White’s
”latte-sipping, lefty agenda ... will shut down jobs and
will shut down the hospitality industry in the North-West Coast.”