Racing Minister – Queensland had a foundation built on rivers of gold that didn’t exist

Queensland minister for Sport and Racing Bill Byrne has expressed serious concern over the future financial state of Racing Queensland.

In figures released on Friday, Racing Queensland posted a $12 million loss in 2014-15 and was forecasting a deficit of $28 million in 2015-16.

Byrne said Racing Queensland must take action to stem the mounting financial losses, including possible prizemoney cuts.

“There are some tough realities to face and some tough decisions to be made,” Byrne said.

“We all want to see racing thrive and grow in this state, but Racing Queensland can’t do that if it goes on haemorrhaging funds.

“The problem is stark – revenue assumptions from the past were wrong. The finances of Racing Queensland had a foundation built on rivers of gold that didn’t exist.

“Finding solutions will take time and it will require robust and realistic discussions – it will be difficult but it has to be done. We will also be consulting with staff from Racing Queensland, the Office of Racing, as well as union representatives.

“If we commit to this process we can ensure a sustainable future for Racing Queensland and help return public confidence to what has always been a proud, vibrant and economically important industry for Queensland.”

Racing Queensland acting chief executive officer Ian Hall said transparency with industry participants will be paramount as the state’s racing body undergoes a rebuilding phase.

“It is important that all stakeholders are fully aware of the financial position of Racing Queensland and the key issues that need to be addressed,” Hall said.

“We have no intention of facing further losses. All participants have a role and a responsibility to work towards returning Racing Queensland to profit and industry so we can continue to invest and grow the industry.

“We’ll be seeking input from the racing industry regarding making immediate savings to ensure we get racing back on a sustainable footing for the long term.

“To do this, we’ll be undertaking extensive consultation over the next two months to make sure the views of all stakeholders are heard – and that includes clubs, trainers, jockeys, drivers, owners and breeders.

“There will also be opportunities for individuals to have their say.”

Queensland racing has also been afflicted by stalled renovations at the Eagle Farm racecourse. It is understood that funding for the proposed underground tunnels is yet to be approved by the state government.


Story courtesy Tom Walter – Racenet


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