Queensland's Own Welcome to the best coverage of racing in Queensland Queensland's Best
Horse Racing Only
www.horseracingonly.com.au Horse Racing Only logo
Home Racing Queensland National International Blogs Photo Gallery Links Contact Us


By Graham Potter | Friday, October 12, 2018

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily.

Wednesday’s announcement by Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakala that the thoroughbred prizemoney pool in the state would be increased by $33 million over the next two years meant different things to different people.

The obvious benefit is for Victorian racing stakeholders, that is with the proviso that the state Labor government is returned to power in the next election.

Paluka clarified the move saying, “Victorian racing is more than just the Spring Racing Carnival. This increase in prize money will help support Victorians working in thoroughbred racing in suburbs, regional cities and country towns right across the state.”

Importantly, the state government also acknowledged the importance of the racing industry in terms of its $3.2 billion contribution to Victoria’s economy.

Sadly, it is that importance and that contribution that Queensland state government seems at a loss to recognise, understand and act upon in the positive manner which the state government in Victoria and New South Wales have done, and continue to do.

That is why the Victorian announcement meant different things to different people.

In Queensland stakeholders must be stunned (once again) at the difference, not just in financial terms but in attitude and intent, between Victoria’s forward movement, in this case, and Racing Queensland and the Queensland government’s own inability to get out of the quicksand.

The timing of Victoria’s latest increase, coming as it does on the back of the threat of strike action and high-level meetings in Queensland between racing representatives and government which have, as yet, not helped the local industry reach any meaningful resolution, has simply ramped up the frustration of the Queenslanders who currently remain trapped in no-man’s land with nowhere to go.

Historically, it was Nero who fiddled while Rome burned and I think we all know what Queensland thoroughbred stakeholders think of their State Treasurer’s Nero impression.

Hopefully this is where the comparison ends because Rome all but burned to the ground.

The bottom line is there can be no doubt that racing in Queensland needs a big and bold intervention to change its current combustible state of being into a more secure situation before the industry, like Rome, goes up in flames.


HRO update: Since this article was written the following communication has been released by the racing's representative body.

'Statement to Government from Racing Participants Alliance.

The Racing Industry Participants Alliance have taken the initiative to put a hold on current plans for industrial action on Cox Plate & Melbourne Cup days.

On the back of a very productive meeting held on Tuesday with the Racing Minister and the Deputy Premier, we feel confident that a positive outcome can be reached, giving thoroughbred racing in Queensland the confidence boost it so desperately needs.

We want to give Racing Queensland clear air to reset its negotiations with Government, and by agreeing to postpone any proposed industrial action, we feel this provides the best atmosphere to obtain the most beneficial result to our financially challenged racing industry.

We feel more comfortable now that our Government better understands the current position of thoroughbred racing in Queensland, and the ever-widening gap to our competitor States; further evidenced by the announcements from Victoria and Western Australia.

We look forward now to working closely with the Government and look forward to a positive outcome which can fully resolve the situation as soon as possible.'


While HRO is at one with the Racing Industry Participants Alliance's goal of achieving a positive and fair minded mood which would help allow negotiations to reach its best outcome, the fact that the Government has been allowed time to reconsider its position without any apparent specific timeline for coming back with a decision is a worry.

All stakeholders were hoping the Government would press the reset button and not the stall button which has been so overused before. So are we on stall … or is the government going away with the genuine intent of formulating a compromise plan which will at least go some way … for a start ... towards satisfying the needs of the horse racing industry?

As always, time will tell … but, if that outcome is indeed to make a positive difference, it has to be made known sooner rather than later.

More articles

Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best