Newman Govt To Invest $110 Million In Racing Infrastructure Upgrades

Newman Govt To Invest $110 Million In Racing Infrastructure Upgrades

Queensland Minister for Racing Steve Dickson

New Laws To Rejuvenate Queensland Racing Industry

Victor P Taffa

Racing Minister Steve Dickson has today announced sweeping changes to Queensland’s racing laws as the Newman Government continues to rebuild the sport across the state.

Mr. Dickson said amendments to the Racing Act 2002, the Wagering Act 1998 and the Interactive Gambling (Player Protection) Act 1998 would restore integrity and accountability in the industry, whilst giving industry participants a greater say in the industry’s future.

“The Newman Government is delivering on its promise of rejuvenating the racing industry in Queensland after the Labor Party turned its back on the sector, handing control to a bunch of ‘Labor Mates’ and an influential union official who oversaw questionable multimillion dollar payouts and financial mismanagement.” Mr. Dickson said.

“We’ve listened to what the industry has told us is needed and accordingly these changes will give industry members a real say in their governance going forward.”

“Rather than the top down structure the previous Labor Government had in place, the Newman Government is ushering in a new era of inclusiveness for all industry members which was sorely lacking under the previous administration.”

Mr. Dickson said he was introducing the changes under the Racing and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 proposing to establish three member code specific boards for the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound industry.

“An independent recruitment process will be initiated, with suitably qualified candidates asked to nominate. Importantly, only applicants who can demonstrate that they have the support of one or more licensees, racing clubs, industry associations, or other relevant stakeholder groups will be eligible for appointment. Board appointees will only be able to serve a maximum of two, three-year terms.” Mr. Dickson said.

The individual code specific racing boards are designed to be operationally and race day focussed and will be responsible for:

  • Reviewing and making recommendations regarding allocation of race dates and prize money;
  • Providing advice to enhance their specific code’s rules of racing;
  • Undertaking ongoing consultation with code stakeholders;
  • Developing a five year rolling infrastructure plan for their code.

The package of measures also proposes to remove Racing Queensland Limited as the universal control body for the thoroughbred, harness and greyhounds codes of racing and establish the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board (QACRIB) in this role.

The QACRIB will be broadly responsible for dealing with specific issues impacting upon the racing industry as a whole and will fulfil the following functions:

  • Acting as the principal racing authority (control body) for the purposes of satisfying national and international racing authority’s governance and regulatory requirements;
  • Identifying, assessing and developing responses to strategic issues relevant to the racing industry as a whole – e.g. wagering negotiations and television rights deals;
  • Developing and implementing responses to strategic challenges faced by the relevant individual codes of racing or the industry as a whole;
  • Leading and facilitating negotiations between two or more control boards about strategic issues and agreements that affect the relevant individual codes of racing or the industry as a whole;
  • Providing administrative and corporate support to code specific boards to enable them to deliver their functions and meet their objectives.

Mr. Dickson said that the QACRIB will be made up of five members, including the three chairs of the code specific board, as well as another two suitable qualified members who will be appointed using the same recruitment process as the code specific boards.

“The All Codes Board’s composition and structure ensures that it derives and retain its legitimacy and authority by virtue of the fact that it truly representative of the sector.” Mr. Dickson said.

“This will address long-held industry concerns that the principal racing authority has no direct interaction with code participants, and licensees in the racing industry have no code-specific board with which to interact.”

“Additionally, this Bill will bring the integrity of racing back under government control, through the establishment of the Racing Disciplinary Board, after the previous Labor Government simply outsourced all responsibility to a bunch of Labor mates who failed the industry spectacularly.” Mr. Dickson said.

The Racing Disciplinary Board will be responsible for the initial hearing of all appeals from the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board and stewards’ inquiries.

“Further, we will also seek to appoint a Racing Integrity Commissioner, who will provide independent oversight of integrity issues across the three codes of racing and conduct audits and integrity-related investigations.”

“We will make changes allowing bookmakers to use internet-based technology to conduct business both at the racecourse and at other off-course approved premises, finally giving our bookies an opportunity to compete with their interstate counterparts.”

“To ensure these changes will strengthen local bookmakers’ rings, bookies will also need to conduct on-course, face-to-face bookmaking at a minimum number of meetings.”

Mr. Dickson said funding for the Racing Industry Capital Development Scheme would be extended from 2014 to 2015 under the amendments, therefore allowing the government to fulfil our election commitment to provide $110 Million for infrastructure upgrades at racing venues across Queensland.