Queensland has a new racing control body, Racing Queensland
Queensland's three previous racing control bodies for
thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing were amalgamated into
one newly established control body, Racing Queensland Limited, on 1
The Racing and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2010 amended the
Racing Act 2002, the Wagering Act 1998, the Gaming Machine Act 1991
and various other acts and regulations to create Racing Queensland
The new control body is now up and running and the Constitution
of Racing Queensland Limited has been released. All eyes are now on
the changes this new control body will make and what impact these
changes will have on the racing industry in Queensland,
particularly in relation to prize money, funding and redevelopment
of racing clubs and country racing.
A new advisory board
The Constitution of Racing Queensland Limited ensures that an
advisory board for country racing is established (the Country
Racing Committee) which is made up of various country racing
associations. The purpose of this committee is to:
monitor and advise Racing Queensland Limited on the performance
of country racing clubs; and
consider submissions made by the associations and advise Racing
Queensland Limited in relation to funding, prize money
distributions and race date allocations for country racing.
While this provides some comfort to the country racing
community, how effectively this advisory board will be able to
protect country racing is yet to be seen.
Racing industry concerns
There was considerable industry concern and outrage when the
legislation was introduced and passed in Parliament given that the
legislation received only limited industry consultation before it
was introduced. With the changes being described as "rammed
through Parliament" the main industry concerns associated with
these legislative changes were that:
industry consultation on the new legislation was restricted to
chairs and chief executive officers of control bodies who were set
to gain from appointment to Racing Queensland Limited's
there was no industry input on director selection or
appointment, the Chairman and new board of Racing Queensland were
not elected (and not accountable to shareholders), and the tenure
for these directors increased to an minimum initial period of four
harness and greyhound racing would be the poor cousins of
thoroughbred racing due to an imbalance in the board;
country racing would not be protected; and
the new control body would take over club operations and would
effectively take the club's assets for no cost.
Why the Queensland Government introduced these changes
The Government introduced these legislative changes following a
$80 million pledge to the industry under a capital works project
introduced by the Bligh Government.
As described in the explanatory notes to the Racing and other
Legislation Amendment Act 2010, the changes were introduced with
the purpose of:
providing a coordinated approach to, and enabling the payment
of the $80 million pledged by the Bligh Government for the Racing
Industry Capital Development Scheme, for racing industry capital
works projects (derived from a racing industry levy of 50% of net
wagering tax collected) and ensuring that the money delivers the
best possible outcomes for the entire Queensland racing
protecting $60 million worth of publicly owned land assets that
the Government transferred to freehold ownership for individual
race clubs in the last decade, with the new legislation preventing
race clubs from disposing of the assets for their own benefit;
ensuring sustainability for the industry as a whole by sharing
resources and reduce administration costs by replacing the three
previous control bodies;
providing stability within the new control body structure by
appointing the five current directors from the previous
thoroughbred control board and one from each of the previous
harness and greyhound control bodies who will hold office for an
initial period of four years, with two required to step down and
stand for re-appointment every two years; and
protecting jobs of the previous control body employees who are
not receiving more than $100,000 per year, by offering employment
on terms and conditions that are equivalent to their current terms
The success of the legislative changes in meeting the stated
objectives for the racing industry in Queensland remains to be
seen. Clayton Utz continues to follow developments.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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