Labor cuts to jockey fees threaten Winter Racing Carnival

17 Mar 2016 10:28 AMJann Stuckey

Racing Minister Grace Grace has no plan to save Queensland’s Winter Racing Carnival from a widespread jockey revolt, as Labor plans to cut riding fees by more than $30 a race from 1 April.

Shadow Racing Minister Jann Stuckey said Queensland jockeys recently voted unanimously that they would not ride should there be any reduction in riding fees, as proposed in Labor’s Tracking Towards Sustainability report, putting the upcoming carnival in doubt.

“This frozen-at-the-wheel Palaszczuk Labor Government has no plan for Queensland’s racing industry other than to completely tear it apart,” Ms Stuckey said.

“Under Labor’s all stick and no carrot approach, we now have jockeys threatening to boycott races because Labor plans to cut racing fees by 18 per cent and refuses to consult with them.

“Minister Grace has washed her hands of their concerns and told them to go to Acting CEO Ian Hall with their grievances, but he finishes up on March 31 so they have been well and truly cast aside.

“Queensland racing is under serious threat, with jockeys, trainers and owners set to abandon Queensland for other states that value the industry.

“If you don’t have jockeys, you don’t have race meets. It’s that simple.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has attacked this industry from every angle, inflicting widespread cuts to prize money, country racing meets, and on-course bookmaker fee subsidies.

“How many more blows is the industry expected to endure?”

Ms Stuckey said the Queensland Jockey’s Association had been trying to work with Racing Queensland for many months to try and avert the fee changes, but no guarantees had been given to ensure fees wouldn’t be cut.

Queensland Jockeys’ Association President Glen Prentice said Queensland jockeys were already the equal lowest paid jockeys in Australia and any cuts to their riding fee would be inherently unfair.

Currently 70 per cent of all Queensland jockeys earn under $20,000 a year and the government’s proposed cuts are unwarranted,” Mr Prentice said.

“Queensland jockeys deserve better than what’s proposed in this report and simply won’t tolerate it.”

[ENDS] 16 March 2016