Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) has released an industry relief package to assist racing industry stakeholders devastated by recent catastrophic floods.
Much of Queensland’s regional racing community has been severely affected by the floods, especially in Rockhampton where Callaghan Park has been closed indefinitely.
RQL Chairman Bob Bentley said the relief package would assist in keeping Rockhampton and other affected racing communities afloat.
“The racing industry in Rockhampton is facing one of its darkest hours with floodwaters engulfing Callaghan Park and placing significant uncertainty around the short term future of racing in Central Queensland,” Mr Bentley said.
“The only part of the facility not submerged in water is the back of the 1600 metre chute, where all the machinery and barriers have been stored.
“With floodwaters expected to remain over the track for a period of up to two weeks, it is impossible to predict the impact the water will have on the track surface.
“This is a real blow as the new Rockhampton track was fast gaining recognition as a premium racing facility able to cope with major rainfall events while still providing an optimum racing surface.
“Today’s announcement is aimed at providing access to critical funds for those licensee groups unable to ply their trade due to the closure of Callaghan Park for training and racing.
“It could be many months before the massive clean-up is finalised and things return to normal for Rockhampton’s racing community.
“RQL is determined that it gives the necessary support to Central Queensland to allow racing to return to normal as soon as the crisis passes.
“RQL believes this package will protect and ensure members of our racing fraternity can survive this hiatus and that facilities are quickly made safe to recommence full training and racing activities.”
Mr Bentley today announced there will be two tiers of funding available.
$1 MILLION FACILITY REMEDIATION FUND
RQL has allocated $1 million towards the remediation of racing and training infrastructure in Rockhampton and at regional racing venues throughout Queensland.
Clubs have been advised to contact RQL to log any areas where major damage has been caused by the recent catastrophic flooding.
To date a number of regional clubs have logged issues of significant importance, these include Warwick, Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Capalaba. Clubs that wish to log significant issues are advised to contact Mr Col Truscott at their earliest convenience.
Mr Bentley said Warwick has been identified as urgent because of the number of licensees that rely on the facility for training.
“After reviewing the damage suffered in Warwick with RQL’s facilities maintenance and development manager, Warren Williams, the Board has already approved relief funds to the Warwick Turf Club. This money will immediately assist in the remediation of the tracks, running rail and electrical issues with the Club’s irrigation system.
“Although the exact extent of damage in Rockhampton will not be known for many weeks, Racing Queensland has allocated a major portion of the $1 million to remediate thoroughbred and greyhound racing and training infrastructure at the facility.
“Queensland’s racing fraternity should take comfort that Racing Queensland will prioritise remediation requirements to ensure racing and training can return to the complex at the first available opportunity.
“Everyone acknowledges that the clean-up at Callaghan Park will take time. Where possible Racing Queensland will employ the services of those flood affected licensees who have the necessary skills to assist in the remediation process.”
$550,000 LICENSEE RELIEF AND RELOCATION PACKAGE
Mr Bentley said there will be provision of a one-off grant to thoroughbred licensees based in Rockhampton to assist with the loss of income during the Callaghan Park closure.
Trainers can make application to access a tiered, one off payment structure offering the following benefits:
11+ horses in work at Callaghan Park $7500
6 to 10 horses in work at Callaghan Park $5000
3 to 5 horses in work at Callaghan Park $2500
1 to 2 horses in work at Callaghan Park $1250
Trainers will be required to make application to RQL with the November training accounts used to calculate the number of horses in work for each trainer.
To download the Application Form, please click Disaster Fund Application Form - Trainers
JOCKEYS AND APPRENTICES
Jockeys and apprentices can apply for a one off payment of $2000.
It should be noted that Jockeys and Apprentices still have access to participate at non-TAB meetings in and around the Capricornia region and meetings conducted in Mackay. RQL encourages Rockhampton-based riders to participate at these meetings and consider attending meetings in the South-East corner of the State.
TRACKWORK RIDERS, FULL-TIME FOREPERSONS AND FULL-TIME STABLEHANDS
Trackwork riders, full-time forepersons and full-time stablehands can apply for a one off payment of $2000.
To be eligible for this payment these licensees will be required to confirm that they are paid via an ABN or tax file number. Additionally stablehands and forepersons will be required to provide documentation to confirm they were employed in a full-time capacity in this position from September 1, 2010 and it is their sole income stream.
Trainers will be required to make application for this funding on behalf of trackwork riders, forepersons and stablehands. Trainers will be paid directly for those licensees they make applications for and will be required to distribute the funds accordingly. Applications from each of these licensee groups will only be considered on the form submitted by their licensed trainer.
LODGING APPLICATIONS FOR ASSISTANCE
RQL acknowledges that the application process for assistance needs to be streamlined and that access to funds is time critical. For this reason RQL will utilise Rockhampton stewards, Mr Luke Collins and Mr Karl Smith, to assist stakeholders with the process.
As a number of areas of Rockhampton are without power and have limited services, both Mr Collins and Mr Smith will provide a mobile service to streamline the process.
For those with access to the Internet and/or facsimiles this information will be easily disseminated and collated, all other queries can be directed to Mr Collins on the number listed below.
Funding applications are available on the Racing Queensland website www.racingqueensland.com.au.
The final date for submission of applications will be Monday, January 31, 2011.
It is expected RQL will commence making payments from Tuesday, January 11, 2011.
It is imperative stakeholders only submit legitimate claims and it should be understood that RQL will audit the allocation of funds during this process.
It should be noted that all applications will be assessed by the RQL licensing committee.
RELOCATION AND TRAVEL SUPPORT
This funding stream is to assist those stakeholders who have relocated to another racing facility during the Callaghan Park closure and those who wish to remain in Rockhampton and participate at TAB meetings throughout Queensland.
> RQL has negotiated stabling at Mackay, Thangool, Gladstone, Deagon and Caloundra and will provide free rental, track fees and auxiliary services at each of these venues, while Callaghan Park remains closed.
> RQL will assist in locating and funding accommodation for trainers and staff during this period.
> Trainers in the Leichardt and Capricornia regions who travel to a TAB meeting in the South-East of the State will be provided a $200 per horse subsidy, while Rockhampton remains closed for racing purposes.
> Capricornia trainers who travel to Mackay from Rockhampton will be provided a $150 per horse subsidy, while Callaghan Park remains closed.
> Due to the closure of the road to Gladstone, RQL will fund the costs associated with the ferry between Yeppoon and Gladstone for riders requiring this service who are participating at the Gladstone meeting on Saturday, January 8, 2011. Riders should contact the Gladstone Turf Club to organise a booking.
ADDITIONAL THOROUGHBRED RACE MEETINGS
As previously advised, RQL has added an additional eight race thoroughbred TAB meeting for Mackay on Thursday, January 20, 2011. The racing program will be continually reviewed to make sure Rockhampton trainers have sufficient racing opportunities.
Listed below are key RQL contacts that will assist stakeholders with paperwork and arrangements associated with the Industry Relief Package.
Mr Luke Collins - 0409 633 775
Lodging paperwork for Relief Package
Mr Col Truscott - 07 4928 5498
Logging of significant flood damage to venues
Mr Brent Leisemann - 07 3869 9732
Access to stabling for trainers looking to relocate during the Callaghan Park closure
For further information please contact the RQL Communications Department on 07 3869 9760.