Govt to meet striking Qld racing industry

Queensland racing dispute
The Queensland government has convened a meeting to try to resolve a racing strike.

The ringleaders behind a strike threatening to derail Queensland’s spring racing season have been invited to meet with the state’s deputy premier and racing minister.

Saturday’s races at Brisbane’s Doomben, Gold Coast, Townsville and Toowoomba have been cancelled after trainers, owners, jockeys and breeders began striking over the way race meets are funded.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe have invited representatives of the Thoroughbred Alliance to a meeting on Friday.

The meeting will be overseen by former Racing NSW chair Gary Pemberton, who himself is a horse owner.

Queensland’s major horse racing clubs say industry stakeholders have lost confidence in the government’s handling of racing.

It says revenue from a new 15 per cent tax on wagering won’t be returned to thoroughbred racing, despite it making up 75 per cent of all wagering income.

The clubs’ open letter to the government says prize money for Saturday metro meetings are 45 per cent of Sydney’s level.

“Ten years ago, it was at 75 per cent,” the statement said.

“It’s sad to watch the Queensland government sit idle as our southern counterparts show us how it’s done.”

Ms Trad said the Palaszczuk government had invested over $190 million into the sector since being elected in 2015.

“The issues the industry faces haven’t arisen overnight, nor can they be fixed overnight,” Ms Trad and Mr Hinchliffe said in a joint statement.

“Our door has always been open.

“We need to work together to look at how we can ensure Queensland racing is sustainable into the future.”

The state’s sole metropolitan race meet for Sunday is still scheduled to go ahead on the Sunshine Coast.