Media Release 17 March 2016 | Jockeys want action, not more political spin

18 Mar 2016 11:22 AMJann Stuckey

Queensland jockeys have been waiting nearly two weeks for answers from Racing Queensland as a deadline looms to a state-wide jockey revolt over cuts to riding fees that are set to take effect from 1 April.

Shadow Racing Minister Jann Stuckey said the jockeys had received advice that Racing Queensland is working on ‘a number of options’ to present to the board but yesterday’s hollow words of advice from Minister Grace had only aggravated the situation.

“Jockeys don’t want political spin from the Minister saying they have nothing to fear, they want answers, and they want the cuts to be reversed with existing arrangements honoured,” Ms Stuckey said.

“Minister Grace needs to act as the jockeys’ deadline is nearing and the Winter Racing Carnival is facing an uncertain 2016.

“The Jockeys’ Association was told earlier this month by Acting CEO Ian Hall that he wasn’t in a position to confirm anything for them.

“Now the Minister has advised that Acting CEO Ian Hall will finish up on 31 March alarm bells are ringing that jockey’s concerns will remain unanswered.

“What we have here is yet another example of sloppy governance by this Palaszczuk Government and a reluctance to support this key industry.

Queensland Jockeys’ Association President Glen Prentice said the statement issued by Minister Grace yesterday was false.

“My members don’t want to hear ‘I don’t think you will have anything to worry about,’ they want an answer,” Mr Prentice said.

“They also need an answer before acceptances for fields come out for race meetings after 1 April and have set a deadline of Monday 28 March.

“They want an undertaking that the agreement in place up to 30 June 2017 will remain intact.

Ms Stuckey said that this was a chance for Minister Grace to show the industry that she was actually willing to listen to their concerns and not just paying them lip service.

“Minister Grace claims the Tracking Towards Sustainability Plan is ‘flexible’ – if so then the Palaszczuk Labor Government can reverse the cuts and stop a looming jockey strike which threatens the Winter Racing Carnival,’ she said.

“You can’t have race meets without jockeys and Labor have frozen the racing industry.

“There has been a long list of attacks by this government on the Queensland racing industry and while Minister Grace might like to blame a lot on her predecessor, if jockeys strike then that will be on her watch.

“After the turmoil caused by Labor last year, this dispute is the last thing the industry needs to start 2016 and has spoiled the optimism around Eagle Farm coming back online this year.”