Minister ignores regional racing clubs

18 Nov 2015 5:07 PMJann Stuckey

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has turned its back on Queensland’s country racing clubs by failing to conduct on-the-ground consultation with key regional centres about the future of the industry.

 Visiting Longreach, Barcaldine and Emerald this week Shadow Minister for Tourism, Events, Sport and Racing Jann Stuckey said country regions were not being given a fair hearing by Racing Minister Bill Byrne and the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

 “Despite saying there would be broad industry consultation I have discovered that only two out of a total of nine consultation forums were held outside of Brisbane,” said Ms Stuckey.

 “By only holding forums in Mackay, Cairns and Brisbane this Labor Government has disregarded the voice of all people involved in racing who live west of the dividing range.

 “Earlier this year I wrote to over 120 country race clubs seeking their feedback and suggestions for a sustainable future for country racing but if this is what the Member for Rockhampton calls proper consultation these clubs have every reason to be concerned.

 “Numerous country race clubs have told me they fear this government plans to cut country racing and are waiting anxiously to learn the future of their race meets and the livelihoods of many who live nearby.

“Like most Queenslanders the LNP are well aware of the widespread and long-running drought facing many of our bush communities – stories of farmers de-stocking, water and stock feed shortages and no income are all too common.

 “We are also well aware of the huge significance of country racing and the social and economic benefits it brings to rural communities.

 “Local sources tell me there are currently over 270 race meets taking place each year and more than 11,000 horses face the starter, providing work for jockeys, trainers, stable-hands, track work riders, fuel sales, vets, feed merchants to name a few.

 “Queensland Country Racing Committee (QCRC) are seeking a commitment from the minister they be retained as an advisory body to the new board to give a voice to greater Queensland.

 “Only the LNP has a plan for Queensland racing. Unlike the Minister, I will be consulting properly with the racing industry by visiting and listening to clubs and stakeholders across the state.”

 [ENDS] 18 November 2015