Sports and Entertainment Trust Bill 2023 -  Click here for Second Reading speech presented in the Legislative Council (p. 2480b)
Bill No.115
18 May 2023
Legislative Council Second Reading - 18 May 2023

Extract from Hansard [COUNCIL — Thursday, 18 May 2023]

p2480b-2481a Hon Samantha Rowe


SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT TRUST BILL 2023 Introduction and First Reading

Bill introduced, on motion by Hon Samantha Rowe (Parliamentary Secretary), and read a first time.

Second Reading

HON SAMANTHA ROWE (East Metropolitan — Parliamentary Secretary) [12.29 pm]: I move —

That the bill be now read a second time.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce the Sports and Entertainment Trust Bill 2023.

The Western Australian Sports Centre Trust, which trades as VenuesWest, manages Western Australia’s most significant sport and entertainment venues and precincts, including the iconic Optus Stadium and flagship RAC Arena, plus 12 other important venues. The WASCT has performed this role for many years, directly supporting both high-performance sport and the general public. However, VenuesWest has been hindered by the limitations of its act. The Western Australia Sports Centre Trust Act was first introduced in 1986 to provide governance oversight of Western Australia’s major state-owned facilities. Since then, the portfolio has undergone significant growth and diversification, expanding from a single facility to now encompassing 14 venues that operate under various management models, such as being directly managed by VenuesWest, partner managed with professional private sector venue operators, co-managed in conjunction with specialised sporting associations and managed under leased arrangements. Although the act has done what it was supposed to do, it has not been updated since it was first passed over 35 years ago, and this has hampered VenuesWest’s potential to deliver on its strategic priorities. The time has come to move to contemporary legislation that will allow VenuesWest greater responsibilities, increased clarity, broader powers and greater flexibility to carry out its duties.

Over the years, the McGowan government has initiated a number of reforms to ensure that the public sector is modern and high performing and maintains its ability to deliver future services to the community and satisfy the government’s agenda. Following the appointment of VenuesWest in 2013 as the governance agency for the Perth Stadium and Sports Precinct, the government of the day noted that a review of the WASCT act was required to bring it in line with the requirements of modern legislation. Key areas that were noted for review included the need: to clearly articulate management of a portfolio of venues rather than one venue; to clarify and include financial and other provisions to ensure VenuesWest’s ability to flexibly undertake business activities, implement its strategic plan and manage continued growth, including the capacity to operate in a commercial manner; for clear and improved reporting provisions and governance through board reform; the ability to better manage venue and public safety with the power to ban people; and to provide legal certainty in relation to exemptions from parking levies and council rates. Extensive stakeholder consultation has occurred over a broad range of proposed amendments.

This bill will provide for the creation of a new, modern trust. The trust will continue to be the government agency responsible for the asset management of the portfolio of venues and support of high-performance sports training and competition needs. The trust will still be managed by a board. It will have the duties and legal powers needed to carry them out. It will be accountable to the Minister for Sport and Recreation, the government and the Parliament. However, the new trust will also have many clearly articulated and important differences, the most important of which relating to the trust’s functions. The trust will have the ability to conduct commercial, retail and promotional activities and be able to “turn to account” advertising opportunities. The broader definition of “venues” will allow for a broad portfolio of assets as well as the ability for the minister to declare places and leased venues as venues, accommodating continued growth and flexibility.

Many reforms in the bill relate to the board that will manage the trust. The new trust’s board will consist of seven members, compared with nine members on the current WASCT board. The bill will require board members to have specific and relevant skills and experience that relate to the trust’s operations. These changes are reflective of contemporary practice towards smaller, skills-based boards. Board members will also be protected from liability when they act in good faith in carrying out their duties.

The bill also contains provisions enhancing the trust’s accountability, including clarity and transparency in the management of conflicts of interest and the use of information.

The bill will provide for enhanced public safety and the protection of venues through powers to ban people from one or all VenuesWest venues via temporary and permanent exclusion orders. This will significantly enhance the trust’s ability to manage the safety of millions of patrons who attend events each year and who expect to enjoy this experience and come home safely.

The bill will allow the Governor to make regulations on various operational matters regarding trust property, which will include the management of venues, admission of people to trust property, the behaviour of people who visit trust property, the consumption of liquor at trust venues, the imposition of fees by the trust and parking management

Extract from Hansard [COUNCIL — Thursday, 18 May 2023]

p2480b-2481a Hon Samantha Rowe


on trust land. These regulations will provide the trust with a greater ability to manage and protect the assets it is responsible for.

As a statutory authority and part of the public sector, the new trust will be accountable to the minister, the government and the Parliament, and will be required to comply with all legislation governing the public sector.

In conclusion, this bill will provide a significant and long-overdue reform to the management of major sports and entertainment assets in this state in recognition of the value of sports and entertainment to our society and the part that these assets play in making Western Australia a great place to live, work, invest in and visit.

Pursuant to standing order 126(1), I advise that this bill is not a uniform legislation bill. It does not ratify or give effect to an intergovernmental or multilateral agreement to which the government of the state is a party; nor does this bill, by reason of its subject matter, introduce a uniform scheme or uniform laws throughout the commonwealth.

I commend the bill to the house and I table the explanatory memorandum.

[See paper 2226.]

Debate adjourned, pursuant to standing orders.