Labor throws racing integrity out the window

8 Apr 2016 1:08 PMJann Stuckey

• Industry meets on Gold Coast to voice concerns over future of racing in Queensland
• Claims of nepotism over Minister Grace’s board appointments
• Fresh calls for former Racing Queensland Chair Peter Boyce OAM to be reappointed

The LNP Opposition has met with leading local trainers, breeders and bookmakers to hear their concerns over a spate of bad decisions and sloppy governance since Labor took the reins on Queensland’s racing industry 14 months ago.

Shadow Racing Minister Jann Stuckey said Queensland’s racing industry had suffered one controversy after another, with serious questions hanging over Minister Grace Grace’s appointment of board members to Racing Queensland.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has stripped Queensland’s racing of a functioning board, funding for race meets and prizemoney, leaving everyone from jockeys to bookies fearing for their futures,” Ms Stuckey said.

“No more than two days after Racing Minister Grace Grace’s hand-picked board member Jim Rundle resigned in disgrace, we now have fresh claims of nepotism regarding new chair Steven Wilson’s close links with this Minister.

“At a time when integrity and accountability in racing are under the spotlight, a dark cloud now hangs over the Minister’s own integrity in appointing members to the Racing Queensland board.

“She should have listened to industry representatives when they warned Mr Rundle was not suitable for appointment as the board’s thoroughbred racing representative.”

Ms Stuckey called on the Minister to start listening to and consulting with industry, which meant starting from scratch by withdrawing the Racing Integrity Bill.

“The Minister’s judgment is under question here and, after 14 months of turmoil under Labor, this is the last thing the industry needs,” she said.

“Minister Grace needs to come clean and release any advice she sought from the Integrity Commissioner in relation to her appointment of Mr Wilson.”

Key facts:

• Thoroughbreds represent over 75 per cent of the wagering turnover in Queensland.
• Serious questions have been raised about Minister Grace’s conflict of interest in the appointment of a new chair to the Racing Queensland board.
• Labor has cut more than $18.2 million in funding and prizemoney from racing budget.

Friday, 8th April 2016