Tax break for Betfair opposed by green party

With the balance of power in Australian politics, the Greens demand attention

The proposed tax deal between the Tasmanian government and the Australian operations of online gambling giant Betfair appears to have run into trouble, with Green Party politicians protesting that the special arrangements will syphon funds away from essential services.

Earlier this year the Tasmanian government tabled a bill suggesting a reduction in Betfair's tax level which would reduce its contribution to state coffers from A$8 million to A$2 million.

This week the Green's treasury representative told parliament that the tax cuts would inevitably lead to government making up the shortfall by reducing services or increasing taxation elsewhere.

"We should not be having taxation by negotiation in this state, the government has a responsibility for setting rates of taxation and they should not be negotiated away at the drop of a hat or at the call of any particular business," he said.

Tasmanian Treasurer Michael Aird defended the proposal, saying that his budget clearly outlines the reduced tax revenue involved in the Betfair deal.

"The level of fees and licences and taxes relating to that arrangement with Betfair would incur loss of revenue to the state. The figures in the budget are a very clear indication of our estimate of the revenue that we expect from Betfair," Aird said.

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