Queensland Harness Racing Punished Under Labor | 3rd March 2016

3 Mar 2016 1:21 PMJann Stuckey

The Queensland harness racing industry is calling on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to restore prizemoney and breeding scheme bonuses ahead of the annual yearling sales at Albion Park this weekend.

Shadow Racing Minister Jann Stuckey is supporting the call for the government to urgently approve funding for QBred bonuses and prizemoney that were drastically cut as part of Labor’s Tracking Towards Sustainability Plan released in December 2015.

“Labor’s Racing Minister Grace Grace needs to show the Queensland harness industry she is genuine about restoring the sector’s confidence by listening to their concerns,” Ms Stuckey said.

“The clock is ticking for Queensland’s harness industry as yet another racing minister dithers and delays decisions that are critical to the prosperity of its future.

“The QBred bonuses and harness racing prizemoney must be reinstated immediately or else we are looking at dire consequences for the annual yearling sales this weekend.

“Minister Grace claims the TTS plan is a ‘living document’ but her lack of actions so far towards harness racing indicate she is frozen at the wheel.
“Stakeholders are keen to sit down with Minister Grace to formulate a strategy and sort this issue out – but so far their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.”

Greg Mitchell from the Queensland Harness Racing Breeder’s Association said the Labor Government doesn’t understand the devastating impact of the TTS plan on the industry.

“All we have seen from this Labor Government is a ‘we know best attitude’ – they say they consult but action speaks volumes and we have seen no action,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Minister Grace just doesn’t understand the negative impact the TTS plan is already having since it was announced and these consequences will be greater if it is implemented on April 1.

“These decisions will have a devastating effect on harness racing in this state.”

Ms Stuckey said the industry was increasingly frustrated that the Palaszczuk Labor Government can’t understand that their livelihoods are on the line as a result of the Minister’s mismanagement.

“It was obvious Labor had undermined Racing Queensland’s previous growth strategy as prizemoney arrangements were not given a chance to reap the full rewards,” she said.

“While the Queensland racing industry is on its knees, just over the border New South Wales has just signed a new deal, increasing prizemoney – including for country and provincial championships.

“As Labor continues to cripple our racing industry more and more investment will flow to other states.”