Strike action to go ahead in Qld racing

The alliance protesting the state government’s treatment of the Queensland racing industry will instigate strike action on two major race days in coming weeks.

The group met on Thursday night and announced on Friday morning that strike action was unavoidable.

The alliance made up of trainers, jockeys, owners and breeders had threatened to strike at TAB meetings on Cox Plate day (October 27), Melbourne Cup day (November 6).

They are upset at the general treatment of racing in the state, in particular the decision not to allocate anything for prize money increases form the Point of Consumption tax distribution.

The group suspended the strike threat after meeting with treasurer Jackie Trad and Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last week.

It set a deadline of noon on Thursday noon before saying it could renew industrial action if there were no positive moves.

On Thursday it had been indicated there would be a statement from the government but it was not forthcoming.

In a joint statement the alliance said after years of neglect by various governments and with the current negotiations reaching a standstill with no sign of a positive resolution, the move to industrial action by the racing participants was unfortunately now unavoidable.

“All participants in Queensland will stand down on Saturday, October 27 for meetings scheduled at Doomben, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Townsville, and then again on Tuesday, November 6 across all TAB meetings,” the statement said.

“At this stage we will keep our commitment to allow the non-TAB meetings on both these days to proceed.”

The alliance said the action had the full support of the four industry bodies comprising trainers, jockeys, breeders and owners.

“It comes after a deadline on Thursday when the state government failed to deliver the requested commitment to return 100 per cent of the racing component of the Point of Consumption tax to racing,” it said.”

“Despite claims that 100 per cent of this new tax will be returned to racing, the clear fact is none of this will be returned to thoroughbred racing this year.

“Prize money is our wages. Ten years ago our people were receiving 75 per cent of what NSW racing delivered in prize money and now Queensland sits at 45 per cent and as all the other states embrace this new betting tax this gap will only widen further.”

The statement says significant financial investment from the new “betting tax” given by the other states to their racing industries, was in stark contrast to what is shown in Queensland.

“While this industrial action is certainly not the industry participants preferred response, the government’s lack of understanding of the importance of the current situation in Queensland, leaves us with no alternative,” it said.

Hinchliffe addressed parliament on Thursday when he defended the government’s record of help to racing saying all of the POC was going to racing.

Calls to Hinchliffe’s office were not returned and Racing Queensland has also made no statement.