Country racing faces the chop

25 Aug 2015 11:01 AMJann Stuckey

Country Racing in Queensland has a gloomy future with an inexperienced Labor Government and a Minister who is fostering a culture of fear and uncertainty.

Shadow Minister for Racing, Jann Stuckey MP said the LNP understood that country racing is the lifeblood of many regional communities and deserves ongoing support.

“When in Government the LNP committed $4 million over 4 years to country racing because we recognised the many benefits to communities across Queensland,” Ms Stuckey.

“To date, Labor have only agreed to the fourth and final year of the LNP’s commitment. Beyond that the Minister has failed to provide any certainty to the industry and the communities who rely so heavily on this support.

“When asked in Estimates Hearings about country racing Minister Byrne ducked and weaved using language that suggested future funding was unlikely.

“Queenslanders need only look to when Labor was last at the helm of racing in this state to be fearful of its continued prosperity.

“Under Labor, the number of country race meetings almost halved over a decade and in 3 years of government the LNP had turned this trend around and were rejuvenating the industry.

“Labor’s recently released survey on racing contains some leading questions about country racing which reveal their predetermined agenda to starve regional racing.

“In 2014-15 some 279 country race meetings were held throughout Queensland, with the economic and social benefit to local communities immeasurable.

“These race meets were possible because the LNP provided the funding, support and resources necessary to grow this sector of the industry.

“Stakeholders in the industry have also expressed their concerns about planned cuts to prize money which will destroy confidence and nobble an industry that employs 30,000 people in this state.

“Country racing is important to our local communities who are doing it tough with the worst drought in Queensland’s history.”

[ENDS] 24 August 2015