Racing integrity under spotlight as LNP consults with Far North

12 Apr 2016 11:20 AMJann Stuckey

Tuesday, 12 April, 2016

• Long-awaited Racing Integrity Bill set to be debated in Parliament next week
• LNP Shadow Minister in Cairns and Mareeba to meet with key industry groups
• Minister Grace Grace’s own integrity under cloud with recent Board appointments

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has serious questions to answer over racing integrity and Ministerial conduct, with the finishing post in sight for debate on the long-awaited Racing Integrity Bill, the LNP said today.

Shadow Minister for Racing Jann Stuckey met with key local racing clubs, owners, trainers and other stakeholders in Mareeba and Cairns yesterday and today to discuss their major concerns over Labor’s failure to work with the industry or listen to their concerns.

Ms Stuckey said the LNP had continued to meet with, consult and listen to the entire racing industry, but successive Labor Ministers had proven time and again they weren’t willing to.

“With the Racing Integrity Bill set for debate in Parliament next week, industry concerns from far and wide are mounting as it feels totally left out of Labor’s process in delivering this Bill,” Ms Stuckey said.

“This Bill needs to be thrown out so the industry can have a say about its future.

“I’ve heard the greyhound industry loud and clear when it says it doesn’t think the Bill goes far enough and the thoroughbred and harness codes have been unnecessarily dragged into the debate.

“The LNP is supportive of measures that improve integrity and animal welfare, but the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s Bill raises more questions than answers, particularly regarding the cost of the new Integrity Commission.”

Ms Stuckey said, with racing integrity under the microscope and recent revelations about the appointment process for new Board members, Grace Grace’s own conflict of interest had led to serious questions about her own integrity.

“Minister Grace has continued to duck and weave when it comes to the process of appointing the new Board after one member had to resign after two days and revelations she’s had a longstanding business relationship with the new Chair,” she said.

“The Cabinet handbook outlines the process for managing conflicts of interest for Ministers, but rather than provide an explanation that she complied with that process, Minister Grace denies she has an issue.

“Racing has had a turbulent year under Labor and this latest controversy is seriously damaging, at a time when industry was regaining some confidence coming into the winter racing carnival and the re-opening of Eagle Farm.

“The best way to implement reform is to bring the industry with you, but that hasn’t happened.

“We are happy to work with the government to help restore confidence and certainty to the industry, but Labor doesn’t seem to want to listen to anyone.”

Key Facts:
• This is Ms Stuckey’s second visit to Cairns in recent months to discuss racing issues with the local industry.
• Mareeba Turf Club yesterday presented Ms Stuckey with a parliamentary petition from 280 local residents concerned about cuts to country racing.
• Far North Queensland does not have a voice on the Racing Queensland Board.