Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Federal Hotels nonsense


Greg Farrell is at pains to emphasise Federal Group's contribution to the Tasmanian economy.

His desperation is starting to show.

He was reported as telling staff at a recent Xmas function that “overall, payments from our company account for eight percent of all State Government revenue. These payments have allowed Tasmanian Governments over that period to invest in major services for the Tasmanian community such as hospitals, schools and roads.”

When you’ve got a captive audience and you’re supplying free grog, you can get away with anything.

The figure’s not 8%. It’s closer to 1%.

State Government revenue last year was just over $5 billion. 8% is about $400 million.

Federal Hotels contributed $57 million in casino tax and license fees and maybe $8 million in payroll tax. That only $65 million or just over 1% of State government revenue for 2014/15, not 8%.

Mr Farrell took the opportunity of a staff Xmas party to “address some of the things that have been said about the Federal Group in recent weeks”. He’s presumably referring to the unexpected opposition that has become apparent with the public release of Federal’s effort to extend its exclusive licenses, which he passes off as a “ small group of people (using) this as an opportunity to spread a number of untruths”.

Mr Farrell addressing the faithful said “Since the last Deed commenced in 2003 I thought that it would be interesting to calculate a few numbers, and I can confirm that we needed a big calculator. Since July 2003 Federal Group has paid the Tasmanian Government over one billion dollars in taxes and licence fees.

A couple of points.

You don’t need a big calculator Greg, just one that works.

Second Federal Hotels is simply a tax collector not a benefactor. No different to companies which collect and remit GST. It’s a bit rich to expect the remittance of amounts due as deserving of public acclaim.

Mr Farrell acknowledges that social and economic harm flows from his Group activities but then tries to lessen the guilt by asserting that the costs are lower than those produced by alcohol tobacco and obesity.

Federal Hotels’ justifications are sounding increasingly ridiculous.

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