Qld govt criticised over racing dispute

Horse races that were scrapped across Queensland over a stand-off between the Palaszczuk government and the galloping industry could have gone ahead if officials acted sooner, the state opposition says.

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

The strike came despite a deal struck between Thoroughbred Alliance representatives and Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe on Friday, which means an extra $26 million will go to the state’s prize pool for thoroughbred TAB meetings.

The last minute agreement will prevent further strike action halting the state’s Melbourne Cup day events.

The opposition’s racing spokesman John-Paul Langbroek says Saturday’s strike could have been avoided if the government had done more to reach a deal sooner.

“There’s no doubt that the deal should have been done way before yesterday afternoon, it was a government that refused to listen and refused to negotiate,” Liberal National Party racing spokesman John-Paul Langbroek said on Saturday.

“What this has shown over the last couple of days is the arrogance and incompetence of the Labor government when it came to implementing a new tax.”

The funding agreement is conditional on further discussions between the alliance and the government being held.

There will also have to be industry reforms such as the creation of more TAB events in Queensland.

The state’s sole metropolitan race meet for Sunday will go ahead on the Sunshine Coast.