All four Racing Queensland boards are to be abolished on the eve of the running of the Queensland Winter Carnival’s showpiece Stradbroke Handicap race day following the release of the damning report by Alan MacSporran in relation to the greyhound live baiting scandal.
A dark cloud now hovers over the showcase day of the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival at Doomben on Saturday that features the running of three Group 1 races, the $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m), the $600,000 Channel 7 Queensland Derby (2200m) and the $600,000 BMW Australia J.J. Atkins (1600m).
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has acted swiftly to the inquiry’s report and ordered Racing Minister Bill Byrne to abolish the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board, the Queensland Greyhound Racing Board, the Queensland Harness Racing Board and the Queensland Thoroughbred Racing Board.
Racing Queensland’s CEO Darren Condon has been issued with a show cause and stood down on full pay with five days to show why he should not be removed from the top position and an interim administration will be set in place.
“Today I have directed the Minister to abolish all of the boards associated with the racing industry in Queensland – namely the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board, the Queensland Greyhound Racing Board, the Queensland Harness Racing Board and the Queensland Thoroughbred Racing Board,” The Premier said.
“An interim administrator will be seconded to Racing Queensland to ensure that day-to-day operations of racing are not jeopardised whilst this process occurs.”
“Ultimate responsibility for the conduct of Racing Queensland lies with the board of that organisation.
“The Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board has obligations under the Racing Act as the peak control body for the industry.
“As Mr MacSporran said yesterday it is clear that Racing Queensland has failed and that starts with the boards.”
“We have appointed Mr Ian Hall from KPMG to advise on implementation of interim administrative arrangements and to ensure effective ongoing management of Racing Queensland.”
The inquiry into the greyhound live baiting followed the screening on Four Corners in February of horrific footage of greyhound trainers ‘blooding’ their dogs on live possums, piglets and chickens which sent an overwhelming uproar across the entire community.
Racing Queensland had conducted its own inquiry and has already banned twenty-three greyhound trainers for life but the leading body’s actions have come far too late.
“Today we are starting with a clean slate,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“My government has acted swiftly on the findings.”
“These are vile allegations. They are among the most upsetting we have ever witnessed.”
“The perception of the industry may have been dealt a terminal below, particularly by the exposure of the horrific practice of live baiting.”
The Winter Racing Carnival attracts the best horses, trainers and jockeys from all parts of the country and across the Tasman and the results of the inquiry into the live baiting scandal could not have come at worst time.
The Brisbane Racing Club is also suffering ridicule with the incompletion of the reconstruction of the State’s number one race course at Eagle Farm which has been out of action for almost twelve months forcing the Doomben race track to take up the majority of the feature racing over the Winter Carnival.