Racing Queensland cooks the books

17 Dec 2015 5:00 AMJann Stuckey

On the same day the racing industry rallied together against the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s cuts to prizemoney, Racing Queensland officials met to propagate inaccurate and unconfirmed finances.

Shadow Racing Minister Jann Stuckey said claims Racing Queensland’s finances were dire were unanimously rejected by the hundreds of owners, trainers, jockeys and club representatives who attended the rally yesterday.

“The message from industry was loud and clear. No one believes the smoke and mirrors campaign being peddled about Racing Queensland’s catastrophic financial health,” Ms Stuckey said.

“Despite the interim CEO’s report that Racing Queensland had a financial loss of nearly $12 million, the 2014/15 Annual Report clearly shows a profit of nearly $24 million and more than $3 million cash in the bank.

“Industry also raised serious concerns yesterday about Racing Queensland’s forecast figures that underestimate the growth in wagering as it doesn’t appear to be based on the current trends and projections.

“It is extremely telling that Labor doesn’t want to reveal the truth about Racing Queensland’s finances because that would mean admitting it had no basis to sack all of the boards and the CEO in June this year.

“The racing industry is being decimated by the Palaszczuk Labor Government and new Minister Grace Grace must stop playing political games and show some leadership.

“As an urgent priority, a proper board needs to be installed under the existing arrangements so all three codes can have a say on the direction and future of the industry.

“Implementation of the Integrity Commission must be put on hold until further industry consultation and proper costing.

“Under the LNP’s plan, we committed $100 million of the $150 million from the new thirty-year wagering agreement to industry and an additional $10 million per year to the industry for virtual racing product.

“A proper audit of the corporate bookmakers is needed to ensure they are paying their fair share of wagering tax.”

Ms Stuckey said vital industry confidence had been crushed with no proper governance structure in place and the future of racing up in the air.

“Prize money cuts and a reduction in the breeding bonus and incentive schemes will cripple the industry well into the future,” she said.

“People who know this industry, have a vested interest in the industry, and have staked their livelihoods on its ongoing success are extremely frustrated that Labor won’t or can’t understand that.”

Ms Stuckey said it was obvious the previous Racing Queensland administration’s growth strategy was undermined because prize money arrangements were not given a chance to reap the full rewards.

“To rub salt into the wounds, while the Queensland industry is on its knees, NSW just signed a new deal, increasing prizemoney including country and provincial championships,” she said.

“While Labor seems satisfied to ignore the problem, only the LNP has a plan to unleash the full potential of the racing industry in Queensland.”

[ENDS] 17 December 2015