RACING QUEENSLAND IN THE RED

Written on the 16 July 2015

RACING QUEENSLAND IN THE RED

RACING Queensland's debt is on track to more than double this financial year, with the State Government launching a taskforce to stem losses.

The industry board posted a $12 million loss in 2014-15 and has forecast a deficit of $28 million in 2015-16.

A broad consultation process will be conducted in coming months with key stakeholders, including jockeys, trainers, clubs, staff, the Office of Racing and union representatives.

Minister for Sport and Racing Bill Byrne says tough decisions will have to be made to return public confidence and save the industry.

"We all want to see racing thrive and grow in this state, but Racing Queensland can't do that if it goes on haemorrhaging funds," Byrne says.

"The problem is stark revenue assumptions from the past were wrong. The finances of Racing Queensland had a foundation built on rivers of gold that didn't exist.

"Finding solutions will take time and it will require robust and realistic discussions it will be difficult but it has to be done."

A recent review of operations has saved $6 million, leaving cuts to prize money as a likely solution.

The industry has been in disarray following findings from the MacSporran report, which was launched after greyhound trainers were caught using live-bait earlier this year.

All boards of Racing Queensland were abolished amid the scandal and accounting giant KPMG was brought in to oversee operations.

Racing Queensland acting CEO Ian Hall says the industry must work together to return to profit.

"Over the past five years, revenue has increased by only 20 per cent while direct operating expenditure has increased by 32 per cent," Hall says.

"It is important that all stakeholders are fully aware of the financial position of Racing Queensland and the key issues that need to be addressed.

"We'll be seeking input from the racing industry regarding making immediate savings to ensure we get racing back on a sustainable footing for the long term."


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