Labor won’t rule out Country Racing cuts

28 Oct 2015 10:52 AMJann Stuckey

Racing Minister Bill Byrne has reaffirmed Queensland country racing has a gloomy future under Labor after failing to rule out funding cuts to the industry.

Shadow Racing Minister Jann Stuckey said an inexperienced Labor Government and Minister who fostered a culture of fear and uncertainty threatened the lifeblood of rural and regional communities across the state.

“When asked in Parliament today, Minister Byrne refused to rule out cuts to prize money and funding for regional race meets and failed to provide any certainty for communities that rely so heavily on country racing,” Ms Stuckey said.

“The former LNP government boosted prize money and committed and additional $4 million over four years for country racing because we recognised its significant benefits to local economies across regional Queensland.

“The Minister refuses to provide any comfort to the folk who reply on this industry and the communities who rely so heavily on this support.

“It beggars belief that, at a time when rural and regional Queensland is facing its worst drought in history, that the Palaszczuk Labor Government looks set to pull the pin on an industry that provides immeasurable economic and social benefits to these communities.

“The Minister needs to come clean and reveal his plan to starve regional communities of their country racing.”

Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar said country racing is so important to the social interaction of rural and remote areas.

“It’s also a big contributor to the local economy, employing trainers, strappers, jockeys and also playing a vital in raising much needed funds to local schools and equipment for local hospitals.

“I call on the Minister not to cut race days in Gregory.”

Ms Stuckey said country race meetings had almost halved over a decade under Labor and in three years of government the LNP had turned this around by revitalising an industry previously ignored.

“In 2014-15 some 279 country race meetings were held throughout Queensland, but Labor’s planned cuts to prize money and the number of races looks set to cripple an industry that employs 30,000 people in this state.

“Only the LNP has the experience and competence to harness the potential of Queensland’s racing industry.”

[ENDS] 28 October 2015