Accountability and integrity will be restored to the state’s racing industry after vital law reforms were passed in the Queensland Parliament.
Racing Minister Steve Dickson said the Newman Government was continuing to deliver upon its election commitments to the racing industry through amendments to the Racing Act 2002, the Wagering Act 1998 and the Interactive Gambling (Player Protection) Act 1999.
“Governance arrangements put in place by the former Labor government meant the Racing Queensland Board was completely unaccountable to any authority, unresponsive to the needs of industry and allowed to underperform in every area,” Mr Dickson said.
“We’ve listened to what the industry has told us was needed for growth and accordingly these changes will give industry members a real say in their governance.
“Rather than the top down structure the previous Labor Government had in place, the Newman Government has delivered a new era of inclusiveness for all industry members.”
Mr Dickson said the changes under the Racing and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 established three separate code-specific control boards, namely the Queensland Thoroughbred Racing Board, the Queensland Harness Racing Board, and the Queensland Greyhound Racing Board.
The Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board (QACRIB) will become the principle racing authority for the thoroughbred, harness and greyhounds codes of racing, replacing Racing Queensland Limited.
“This will address long-held industry concerns that the control body has no direct interaction with code participants, and licensees in the racing industry have no code-specific board with which to interact,” he said.
“Additionally, this Bill has brought the integrity of racing back under government control, through the establishment of the Racing Disciplinary Board after the previous Labor Government simply outsourced all responsibility to a bunch of Labor mates who failed the industry spectacularly.
“We will also appoint a Racing Integrity Commissioner, to provide independent oversight of integrity issues across the three codes of racing and conduct audits and integrity-related investigations.
“Queensland bookmakers will also be able to use internet-based technology to conduct business both at the racecourse and at other off-course, approved premises, finally giving them an opportunity to compete with their interstate counterparts.
Mr Dickson said funding for the Racing Industry Capital Development Scheme had also been extended from 2014 to 2015 under the amendments.
“A nomination process calling for board candidates will now be undertaken over coming weeks with all governance changes set to be in place by the end of March 2013.”