QRL chairman challenges both parties to declare their racing policy
The chairman of Queensland Racing Limited (QRL) Mr Bob Bentley today acknowledged that rumours were rife within the industry that, in the event the Liberal National Party (LNP) were successful at the March 21 poll, the board of QRL would be removed.
Mr Bentley confirmed that he had written to both sides of Government on February 24, 2009 requesting a copy of their racing policy.
The racing industry contributes more than $1.6 billion gross value to the Queensland economy. It sustains 30,000 full-time and part-time jobs for Queenslanders and the industry produces in excess of $40 million in State taxes.
The activities of the racing industry generate more that $117 million in taxation revenue for the State and Federal Governments.
“It is not an unreasonable request that the policies of both parties be scrutinised and justification be provided to support change,” said Mr Bentley.
“What the LNP needs to recognise in particular is that the board of QRL has delivered increases of distributions including prizemoney from $75 million to $88 million during the board’s tenure with QRL’s net assets growing from $20 million in 2002 to $68 million at the end of the 2007/2008 financial year.
“Country racing has never been stronger and during their term the board of QRL supported a change to the legislation to ensure that funding continued to flow to this most important part of the industry.
“The integrity of the industry has never been at a higher standard, notwithstanding that it has been streamlined under the current QRL board and the industry has also experienced training and development within the industry that is unsurpassed. The introduction of the industry’s own yearling sale, the QTIS 600, is also a first to assist the Queensland breeding industry.
“Equally, the board of QRL was required to deal with the threat of Equine Influenza (EI) and the organisation responded to the highest standard during the industry’s hour of need, a response that received plaudits from the State and Federal Governments. Further, QRL was responsible for the delivery of $55 million to industry trainers, owners and other participants during EI.”
Mr Bentley cautioned about changes to the governance of Queensland thoroughbred racing in the event that the LNP was successful at the upcoming poll.
“Changes should not be affected on the basis of personal or political agendas,” said Mr Bentley.
“The record of the current QRL board is superior to that of any other thoroughbred racing board in Australia, and indeed, any board or committee previously responsible for the administration of thoroughbred racing in Queensland, stemming way back to the inception of racing in this State.
“QRL is a company limited by guarantee and remains licensed until 2012 to continue with its most important work on behalf of all industry stakeholders in Queensland.
“I challenge both Labour and LNP to release their thoroughbred racing policy so that all industry stakeholders are aware of the direction that each party proposes to take the industry subsequent to the upcoming election.”