Byrne cuts to racing exposed

3 Dec 2015 9:10 AMJann Stuckey

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has continued its attack on the racing industry announcing unfair and unnecessary funding cuts to race meetings and reduced prizemoney across the board.

Shadow Minister for Racing Jann Stuckey said 60 race meetings across Queensland will lose their funding while reports of up to $19 million of prizemoney will be cut.

“All year I have been championing the push to retain funding for country racing and today’s announcement is a huge blow to the industry,” Ms Stuckey said.

“The industry are already angry and upset at being used as a political football by Racing Minister Bill Byrne and today is another slap in the face.

“This incompetent Labor government is holding Racing Queensland back and only released the Tracking Towards Sustainability report after months and months of pressure from the Opposition.

“Now the document has finally been released, the Minister has shown his true intention, to cut, slash and attack the racing industry.”

Ms Stuckey said the decrease in prizemoney will seriously impact on Queensland’s ability to compete against other states within Australia.

“The report indicates $4.6 million will be cut from country racing prizemoney while $8.5million will be cut from the thoroughbred racing prizemoney,” she said.

“NSW are increasing the amount of prizemoney for races attracting more quality racing product while Queensland is left languishing behind other states.”

Ms Stuckey said after 10 months Labor’s agenda for racing in Queensland is now clear and the picture isn’t pretty.

“Labor has forced Racing Queensland to do all the heavy lifting, cutting costs all over the place, while it continues to maintain the same wagering tax revenue,” she said.

“Queensland Racing’s reputation has suffered at the hands of this minister’s incompetence, the industry has virtually been turned on its ear, confidence smashed and every sector calling for his resignation.

“The Minister has ignored the industry since July, issuing 52 media releases, but none on racing until today.

“Unlike this invisible minister I have visited several regions west of the divide, written to 126 racing clubs in Queensland and put out nine media releases about racing.”

Ms Stuckey said the Minister still has questions to answer on the costs associated with the greyhound inquiry.

“The acting CEOs wage is expected to reach $1 million, $600,000 was paid for security and kennelling of greyhounds and potentially millions in out-of-court payments to trainers whose dogs were illegally seized,” she said.

“The costs for establishing and maintaining the Integrity Commission and Commissioner are yet to be released while the new board is still unannounced.

“The fact remains that Racing Queensland is leaderless, rudderless and without direction.”

 [ENDS] 3 December 2015