Government-Subsidised Racism?

It needs to be understood that 6PR is not just a commercial enterprise exercising freedom of speech in response to market demand. It is in fact the case that 6PR exists solely to 'deliver' listeners to racing reports. Without massive financial input from the TAB, 6PR would not be financially viable. In other words, 6PR's general programming, including The Sattler File, is not tailored to the same market forces that regulate other commercial radio stations -- for 6PR there is always the cushion of TAB subsidy.

6PR is operated by Western Broadcasting Services Pty Ltd (WBS). The Auditor-General of Western Australia delivered the following opinion on 17 December 1990:

The ability of the company [WBS] to continue operating as a going concern is dependent on the ongoing support of the ultimate parent organisation and/or the company earning sufficient profits from its operations.

That WBS does not earn sufficient profits, but remains dependent on its ultimate parent, i.e. the WA Government statutory authority, the TAB, is demonstrated by its 1991 Annual Return. In a note to the Annual Accounts for 1991 a statement of accounting policy points out:

The applicability of the going concern basis is dependant [sic] on the continued support pledged by the Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) in the terms of the agreement date 15 November 1989, which can be terminated by the TAB giving the company not less than 30 days notice.

The 'tax loss' notes to the Annual Accounts for 1991 point out that 'the company is a subsidiary of Lewara Pty Ltd which is fully owned by the Totalisator Board of Western Australia', that two directors of the TAB are directors of WBS, and that the TAB made payments to WBS 'over the year of $2,350,000 for broadcasting racing services'. At the same time the company results show that WBS's 'operating profit' was $277,691.

In short, 6PR is not only wholly owned but wholly subsidised by the TAB which itself is a government agency.


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