THE announcement that Queensland country racing will get a prize money boost from next week has been welcomed by most sections of the industry.
But there is little need for politicians to carry on with their breast pounding antics demanding recognition for the increase.
For all this government has done is promise to repay what was taken away from the industry a few years ago - and wasted other projects like brain dead national surveys that should and could have been conducted in - house under the direction of the CEO.
But that’s another story for another day.
Townsville and Rockhampton were racing for $14,000 three years ago - before the cut backs - a fact that new racing minister, Stirling Hinchcliff, was obviously unaware when he made the announcement at the recent Magic Millions extravaganza.
A very precious racing pageant, I might add that provides very little for the majority of stakeholders and especially participants of Queensland country racing.
Yet it is this annual mardi gras aimed to entertain the upper crust, champagne set, royalty and the polo fraternity - that sucks a lot of government (racing) funding that is way over the top.
In fact many believe the entire show should be funded by Gerry Harvey and co.
PRIZE MONEY you might well remember was slashed by $18.8 million and Townsville and Rocky prize money reduced to a maximum of $12k per race in 2005.
There was an $8.5 million cut from non-country racing prize money and $4.6 million from country racing prize money but the price of feed and other essentials increased markedly.
The $12 million annual prize money boost announced by Hinchcliffe might be best described as a little bit of catch up.
The big question remains: just how did Queensland get itself into such a parlous state in the first place?
Poor management and bad decisions if you believe the hitherto unchallenged, gravely serious accusations by investigative journalist Archie Butterfly.
And now we have doubtful wisdom (and ability) of one Stirling Hinchcliffe to guide our totally fractured and hurting industry out of the doldrums. Good luck with that.
Mr Hinchliffe spouts the additional prize money was “a massive win for Queensland racing industry participants across all three codes.
“Racing Queensland’s extended prize money package is exactly what the racing industry has been crying out for,” he said.
“It means an extra $12 million will be pumped directly into the industry each year across the thoroughbred, greyhound and harness racing codes.
“This comes on top of the $3.2 million prizemoney boost announced by Racing Queensland in 2017”…..
Blah, blah, bloody blah. But get used to the rhetoric.
As far as the Queensland Racing industry is concerned, the train (to haul us out of the mess) is still idle at the station…..without a driver of course.
THE GREAT problem is that there are simply not enough crumbs in the cake to feed all the race clubs in the state.
It is a subject that is politically unpalatable for politicians of all creeds but most agree privately at least, there has to be a cull of clubs.
Most of them in remote areas where the annual race meeting is the social (if not the only) highlight of the year.
Decentralisation was a task successfully achieved however in both NSW and Victorian racing jurisdictions some years ago.
And it must be looked at in Queensland as a matter of importance.
ON that subject a town doesn’t have to have a racecourse (with the associated costs of ) to have race meeting as will be proven on February 10 when Port Douglas “takes over” Cannon Park in Cairns.
“The business houses of Port Douglas will sponsor the meeting and the local townsfolk will climb aboard buses for a convoy down the highway for their own little race day out,” said Bluey Forsyth, the Cairns based entrepreneur and commentator who is helping with the promo.
“It is traditionally a quiet time for business that relies heavily on tourism and the locals have really rallied behind the novel idea.
“There will be bus loads, believe me,” said Bluey.