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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Calls to Tassie beckon for PBL

The Mercury: Calls to Tassie beckon for PBL [23feb06]

A BIG boost for local employment is likely with giant entertainment, media and gambling corporation Publishing and Broadcasting Limited likely to shift its entire national telephone call centre business to Tasmania.

The move by PBL to centralise its diverse sales and booking agencies in Hobart comes on top of the $10 million investment in its new Betfair joint venture based at Technology Park in Hobart's north.

PBL business development director Anthony Klok confirmed yesterday that more than 300 call centre jobs in PBL's assorted business divisions may be relocated soon to Hobart.

"We are doing a study of ways we can consolidate different parts of our business," said Mr Klok, who comes from Tasmania.

" Hobart comes up very favourably on many counts, but mostly because we have an existing relationship there with the government."









Mr Klok said the entire call centre operations of PBL's Ticketek theatre, sports and entertainment ticket sales business, Australian Consolidated Press' magazines circulation and sales area, and even its casino and hotel bookings may be brought together in Hobart.

Ticketek operates the largest ticketing distribution network in Australia and New Zealand, selling more than 12 million tickets a year.

This move would add to the Asian Pacific base of the Betfair betting agency, half owned by PBL, in Glenorchy. It will employ about 40 to 50 operators taking phone bets.

Qantas already operates a national call centre in Technology Park, next door to Betfair's new headquarters.

In negotiations late last year to encourage the Tasmanian Government to pass the new controversial betting agency laws that have allowed Betfair to operate in Australia, PBL promised it would look at other investments in the state.

The main attraction for PBL, besides its good relations with the Lennon Government, is that call centre salaries are slightly lower and staff turnover much less than in Sydney or Melbourne.

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