Crime and Corruption Commission to investigate Racing Queensland, Racing Minister Bill Byrne says

The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has been asked to investigate Racing Queensland (RQ), as the State Government warns that the industry body is in a financially unsustainable position.

Racing Minister Bill Byrne said four matters had been referred to the CCC, but he would not go into detail.

“Let’s just say they’re not being referred to the CCC for matters associated with tiddlywinks,” Mr Byrne said.

“We’re talking about substantive serious issues, and that’s the way they’re being treated.”

But Mr Byrne confirmed the matters were not related to the greyhound live baiting scandal, which has seen 68 charges laid against 25 people, including some for serious animal cruelty offences.

Racing boards have been sacked and consultants have been appointed to run RQ, in the wake of an inquiry into the scandal.

Mr Byrne said they have discovered poor management practices, unrealistic expectations of revenue growth, and generous prize money and subsidies.

“These combined factors have led to a perfect storm of financial unsustainability,” he said.

“The reality is simply this: Racing Queensland has been operating at a loss and Government and industry need to make some tough decisions.

A loss of $28 million is predicted in 2015-16, a worse result than the $21 million loss predicted in June.

Interim administrator Ian Hall from KPMG warned that wagering revenues have flattened while expenses have grown.

“It’s clear that the current position of Racing Queensland is untenable,” he said.

“We can’t continue in this current way.

“We have to take decisive action.

“We have to restore the balance between revenue, our own costs, and payment to industry.”

Mr Hall said cuts to prize money could not be ruled out.

“Obviously it’s the largest expense and everything’s on the table to be looked at and considered,” he said.

The Government said it would consult with the industry about the future of racing in Queensland.


Story courtesy Melinda Howells  ABC

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