Racing Queensland’s crippling financial situation far worse then first thought: Minister   Leave a comment

Racing Queensland’s crippling financial situation far worse then first thought: Minister

He insisted racing’s financial reserves had been dipping for years and the previous racing regime had a foundation built on rivers of gold which did not exist.

Racing Minister Bill Byrne says unrealistic expectations for revenue growth from wagering

Racing Minister Bill Byrne says unrealistic expectations for revenue growth from wagering is a contributing factor to the massive shortfall. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

TRAINER Rob Heathcote says slashing prizemoney would be a devastating blow to a Queensland racing industry already on its knees from a $28 million black hole.

Queensland Racing Minister Bill Byrne made a rare public appearance to predict a difficult future for racing in this state and claim the current position of Racing Queensland was untenable.

The state’s crime and corruption watchdog is also investigating four cases involving Racing Queensland which are not related to the greyhound live-baiting scandal.

Queensland’s racing industry, plagued by uncertainty after the dismissal of the RQ board after the greyhound scandal, now faces a nervous wait to see whether prizemoney will be cut.

Byrne and acting RQ chief executive Ian Hall have committed to six months of industry consultation and say it will be business as usual for that period.

But they refused to rule out prizemoney cuts as part of racing austerity measures which could come into place on January 1 next year.

“It’s going to be a difficult conversation going forward for everybody, and not just prizemoney issues,’’ Byrne said.

Racing Queensland needs to make some tough decisions. Picture: Jono Searle

Racing Queensland needs to make some tough decisions. Picture: Jono Searle Source: News Corp Australia

“It is not my intention to impose a solution, or to rule anything in or out right now.’’

Heathcote, a Brisbane premiership winner and trainer of star Group 1 galloper Buffering, said prizemoney cuts could cripple the industry.

Concerns: trainer Rob Heathcote. Picture: Darren England

Concerns: trainer Rob Heathcote. Picture: Darren EnglandSource: News Corp Australia

“A lot of trainers in Queensland don’t just train for Queensland owners, we also train for interstate owners, and prizemoney is a massive issue,’’ Heathcote said.

“Any reduction in prizemoney would be a crushing blow. We also want the government to understand the lack of confidence within the industry at the moment.’’

Painting a bleak picture for the industry, Byrne said wagering deals were not the cash cow that had been expected, with wagering revenue dropping by 2.4 per cent in Queensland.

The closure of the state’s racing hub Eagle Farm for more than a year for renovations had played a big role in wagering revenues falling.

The former Racing Queensland Board, removed by the Government in May, fired back by claiming the financial position had not been nearly as bad as the Government was claiming.

“In regard to the financial position of Racing Queensland at the time our term was ended, the financial position for 2014-15 showed a loss of $5m for the year,’’ the statement from the previous board said.

“These accounts were verified by both internal and external audit, and there were no notes or qualifications to the accounts.

“This loss was entirely driven by lower than budgeted thoroughbred wagering revenue, driven by the extended closure of Eagle Farm and the unexpected delay in the relaunch of UBET.’’

Originally published as RQ’s $28m hole could threaten prizemoney

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Posted July 17, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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