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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Commission of Inquiry into racing industry

Date: Mon, 6 May 2013 04:00:39 PM
Industry: Thoroughbreds
Type: Industry News

Coat of Arms

Media Release

JOINT STATEMENT

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Jarrod Bleijie

Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing
The Honourable Steve Dickson

Commission of Inquiry into racing industry

The Newman Government will establish a wide-ranging Commission of Inquiry into the Queensland racing industry under the former Labor Government.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said serious allegations had been raised with the Newman government in the past few weeks that had convinced him an inquiry into the industry was necessary.

“We heard almost daily more allegations of more money being thrown around by the former Labor government and the former bosses of Queensland Racing,” Mr Bleijie said.

“I am concerned about the lack of appropriate processes in awarding contracts in the racing industry. For example, I have heard of one company that won tens of millions of dollars’ worth of work, however only 1 of its 37 contacts allegedly went to tender.”

“There have also been allegations that the former Labor government approved more than $20 million worth of payments to this company in its dying days in what seems to have been a last minute cash dash before the election.

“Queenslanders have the right to know where their tax dollars are being spent and deserve to know what is happening in this important industry and through this inquiry, I intend to find out.”

The Commission has been directed to examine, among other things:

·         The tender process, including how contracts were awarded, in particular to Contour Consulting Engineers Pty Ltd;

·         Adequacy of Racing Queensland’s corporate governance and financial controls, including whether conflicts of interests, both actual and perceived, were identified and acted upon;

·         The reported renegotiation of employment contracts of Senior Executives of Racing Queensland;

·         Potential conflicts of interests between any of the directors of Racing Queensland Limited, Queensland Racing Limited, Queensland Product Co Limited and Tatts Group regarding arrangements for revenue collection;

·         The transfer of $20 million by the former Government to Racing Queensland Limited infrastructure account in February 2012 immediately before the caretaker period for the State Election.

Racing Minister Steve Dickson said he had inherited an industry which had been brought to its knees by the former Labor Government.

“The Newman Government has been unwavering in its commitment to restore accountability and integrity to the state’s racing industry,” Mr Dickson said.

“After rebuilding a solid, accountable governance structure from the ground up, we must now look at the serious allegations regarding the integrity and conduct of those once entrusted to run racing in our state.

“There are important questions which must be answered about alleged financial mismanagement which may stretch into the hundreds of millions, infamous ‘golden handshake’ payouts, and numerous instances of very murky backroom dealings.

“The LNP is creating a bright future for Queensland’s 30,000 strong racing industry, but we must also right the wrongs of the past as we continue to restore confidence and rebuild what Labor tore down.”

The Inquiry is expected to start in July 2013 and run for approximately three months.

[ENDS] 06 May 2013

Media Contact:
Katherine Hornbuckle 0402 862 351 (Attorney-General); Anna Hilton 0408 191 192 (Minister Dickson)

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