Racing minister admits lack of racing governance

12 Feb 2016 2:40 PMJann Stuckey

Racing minister admits lack of racing governance

Labor Racing Minister Grace Grace has admitted serious breaches of protocol in the appointment of Ian Hall as the acting head of Racing Queensland.

Shadow Racing Minister Jann Stuckey said the revelations were detailed in a letter from the Palaszczuk Government Minister and again highlighted the complete lack of regard Labor has for Queensland’s racing industry.

“I wrote to Grace Grace almost two months ago raising serious concerns over governance in Racing Queensland,” Mrs Stuckey said.

“Her reply exposes that only now, after media attention, has she asked Mr Hall to explain how he will manage potential conflicts of interest arising from the fact that he is a Partner of KPMG, a company with links to international corporate betting giant, Sportsbet.

“Surely these serious issues should have been canvassed before Mr Hall was appointed to lead Queensland’s billion dollar racing industry.

“This is all the more important given Racing Queensland’s recent decision to reduce race field fees for corporate bookmakers such as Sportsbet.”

In December last year, it was reported that Mr Hall supported Sportsbets involvement in racing in Queensland, raising concerns for the sole licensed wagering operator – Ubet.

“What wasn’t made clear at the time was that corporate betting agencies like Sportsbet reap all the financial rewards of operating in Queensland but don’t pay many state taxes – revenue that won’t be re-invested in Queensland’s racing industry,” she said.

“Given the confusion about what conflict of interest declarations Mr Hall has provided, or not provided, the Minister should clarify the matter by releasing what was provided and when, including whether he outlined his and KPMG’s potential conflict of interest with Sportsbet.”

Mrs Stuckey said the Minister’s correspondence also admitted that the Government has potentially breached its own act by appointing new Racing Queensland CEO Ian Hall without conducting a police or background check as per the requirements of the Act.

“The Minister stated they have only recently sought Mr Hall’s consent to do this, despite being appointed by Governor in Council on 27 August,” she said.

“In essence Mr Hall has been managing Racing Queensland whilst legally not fulfilling the appointment requirements under the law. This may open up any decisions he has made as the CEO to legal challenge.

“This all goes to show what little genuine interest this Palaszczuk Labor Government has in the racing industry in Queensland and the extent to which they continue to shatter the confidence of all racing industry participants across the state.

“It has been up to the LNP to play watchdog and hold Labor to account as they continue to wreak havoc with this industry.”

[ENDS] 12 February 2016