Racing Integrity Commission cost blow-out kept secret

13 Jan 2016 3:57 PMJann Stuckey

Queensland’s racing industry faces more uncertainty in 2016 as Labor withholds the costs for the proposed new Racing Integrity Commission.

Shadow Racing Minister Jann Stuckey said the Palaszczuk Labor Government was grossly incompetent and deceitful with the latest revelation they could not or would not make public the costs of the new Commission.

“Racing industry confidence is going from bad to worse under Labor’s complete lack of administration,” Ms Stuckey said.

“Delay after delay and outright refusal to answer questions is testing the patience and pockets of many across the state whose livelihoods rely on this industry, whether they be involved with thoroughbreds, harness or greyhounds.

“Deliberate ducking and weaving from questions asked at the December 11 Parliamentary Committee hearing highlighted that Labor are making it up as they go and have no plan for the industry.

“Labor’s reply to a question from Burnett MP Stephen Bennett during the hearing proved the Racing Integrity Commission’s budget had not been finalised even though it will be operational from April 1 if legislation is passed.”

Ms Stuckey said industry and government sources expected the cost of the Commission to be anywhere between
$16 and $20 million, a blow out of up to $12 million.

“This cost blow-out is outrageous and unacceptable, especially as the Palaszczuk Government have shouted from the rooftops that Racing Queensland was in a dire financial state with huge cost blowouts of $28 million,” she said.

“In simple terms the left hand hasn’t a clue what the right hand is doing as the industry remains rudderless, leaderless, without a Board and unsupported.

“Last December Acting CEO Ian Hall sent letters to clubs calling for insurance payments back-dated to 2010 totalling many thousands of dollars, causing enormous anxiety to some clubs who could have been bankrupted – clubs like Mt Isa, Goondiwindi, Beaudesert and Julia Creek.

“Then when clubs pointed out there had been a mistake the CEO back-peddled and sent out a ‘wait and see’ letter further eroding industry confidence.

“Queensland’s racing industry has every right to be deeply concerned as this Labor Government continues to tear it apart, having no consideration or understanding of the damage they are doing.

“Where is Minister Grace and what is she doing to instil any confidence in Queensland’s racing industry?

“Instead of swanning around at Magic Millions functions and claiming credit for Australia’s richest race day she should be listening to the industry and not only bean counters and administrators with little or no industry experience.”