Lotto vow is just the ticket for Luke Foley

-->

Originally published: The Daily Telegraph, 20 January 2015.

By Andrew Clennell

THE sale of lottery tickets would remain restricted to newsagents and small businesses under a Labor Foley government, keeping Coles and Woolworths out of the market and keeping newsagents alive.

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley will today announce that, if elected in March, he will continue a moratorium on the sale of lottery tickets at big stores. That five-year moratorium was introduced in 2010 when the former Labor government sold off the lotteries.

The moratorium is due to expire on April 1 — the week after the state election — and the Baird government has refused to guarantee any further moratorium, despite pleas from the Newsagents Association that most businesses will go broke if supermarket giants are allowed to move in on scratchies and lotto tickets.

Labor said it would enact legislation so no compensation would have to be payable to the private owner of the lotteries, Tatts, if the moratorium were extended.

“I want to see thriving and successful small businesses in our suburbs and our regional town centres — a Labor government would ensure local newsagents are protected by enacting laws to support a fair deal on the sale of NSW Lotteries products,” Mr Foley said.

“Today I am putting forward a positive and common sense plan to protect newsagents — a Labor government will sit down with all the parties and develop an agreement that works for all concerned.”

Mr Foley said his plan would follow a similar situation in Queensland where the arrangement has been legislated for “without difficulty”.

“We’ve seen in Queensland that lotteries can be run effectively through local newsagents and small businesses to the economic benefit of both the private operator and the agents — I want to make it very clear that I intend for newsagents to continue their traditional role as the primary retailer of lottery products,” Mr Foley said.

Labor sold the lotteries off on a 40-year lease worth $1 billion, with the upper house putting in place the five-year moratorium at the time.

Newsagents Association boss Andrew Packham has said around 70 per cent of lottery agents would be “unviable” if action was not taken.

Labor is also pledging to ensure Tatts sits down with newsagents to work out new arrangements on conditions Tatts wants to put on operators

Originally published as: Lotto vow is just the ticket for Luke Foley