QUEENSLAND GREYHOUND BREEDERS, OWNERS & TRAINERS ASSOCIATION
RE: RACING QUEENSLAND SUSTAINABILITY PLAN
The QGBOTA accepts that the racing industry in Queensland has been operating at financially unacceptable levels.
The greyhound industry although initially excited by the largess of the prizemoney increases in late 2014, also argued and maintain that some of this increase should have been put to better use with regards to improvements to stadia, animal welfare, track safety, education and long term industry savings.
There is a common thread in the plan that relates to the 'Governing Principles' some of which are below:
1. Share the upside and risks - All participants share in the upside and risks and therefore are linked to the success of the industry.
2. Fair and reasonable - The plan should reflect what is fair and reasonable to each participant, between participants and to the industry as a whole.
3. Whole of industry approach - The plan should deliver a whole of industry approach (i.e. not limited to individual stakeholders).
4. Everyone is interconnected - The industry should be encouraged to work as one, rather than individual parts - everyone has a role to play.
5. Reinvest in target growth areas - The plan should reinvest in targeted areas to promote industry participation.
6. User pays system - Enables participants to appreciate the true cost of services provided.
The greyhound industry would be supportive of this type of structure, however, on face value the greyhound industry appears to be the only code that has to make allowances and concessions. The other codes are not being asked to contribute to cross subsidisation.
We are led to believe that the racing industry is operating at unacceptable levels, yet it can still afford a $10m one off race day for Magic Millions. The Thoroughbred Industry has also been granted support for country racing. Why is there no Government support, as is policy in some other states, to subsidise the Harness code?
The QGBOTA through their Strategic Plan highlighted that the racing industry in Queensland would be better served supporting the greyhound code that continues to grow it's wagering product. This plan put forward sensible and fiscally responsible arguments that would grow the greyhound wagering product by 25-30% over the next 5 years.
Further, the thoroughbred and harness industries have new stadia built or upgraded, while the greyhound industry is ignored. The greyhound industry in Queensland came to the amalgamation with a 50% ownership of Albion Park, property at Slacks Creek, $10m compensation from the closure of the Gold Coast Track, and percentage of infrastructure money. This is estimated in total of $75m.
In 2008 the then Labor State Treasurer Andrew Fraser stated, "We believe that it's a generous level of compensation, along with their holding of 50% of Albion Park. That places the Greyhound Industry with the ability, the assets and the cash to be able to plan for their future as an industry by themselves".
You cannot promote Governing Principles for racing in Queensland, if they only refer to one or two of those codes. To use the general public as an excuse for not building new stadia is fraudulent.
These are greyhound assets prior to amalgamation, and the greyhound industry who have put forward a professional capital works program should be supported.
When the greyhound industry is under immense pressure to reform, improve welfare and safety standards of its canine athletes, it seems ludicrous that only the part that suits animal liberationists is supported by both sides of politics in Queensland.
Improvements to stadia, track safety initiatives, better lure design, is scientifically proven to significantly reduce injuries and improve the welfare of the canine athlete. What this proves, is the lack of understanding and bias by politicians and authorities towards an industry which has been calling for these changes for over a decade.
The QGBOTA finds it offensive that hobby trainers are treated with such contempt, that they cannot be trusted in how they spend $15 from unplaced prize money. How is the greyhound industry supposed to encourage new participants to the industry, when they cannot be trusted in how they spend such a nominal amount? It is a form of class warfare.
If the question is around a person or person's ability to maintain an animal athlete in good health, then this should be a considered approach across all three codes.
The QGBOTA will continue to work with Racing Queensland, industry groups and stakeholders to make greyhound racing policies reflect best practice in all facets of the industry. But we are also concerned with the continued bias in policy towards the greyhound industry and its participants.
Queensland Greyhound Breeders, Owners & Trainers Association