Racing Qld to slash $18m in prize money

By Marty Silk

Queensland's peak racing body will slash $18 million in prize money as it scrambles to get back in to the black.

Racing Queensland (RQ), which oversees greyhound, horse and harness racing in the state, is trying to become financially viable by July 2016 amid ballooning losses.

RQ posted a loss of $12 million in 2014/15 and was forecast to post a loss of $28 million in 2016/17.

Interim chief executive Ian Hall says the state's racing body can no longer spend money it doesn't have.

"For too long Racing Queensland has been seen as the bank for the industry, so `whenever there's a problem Racing Queensland will fix it up, if we need some more funds Racing Queensland will pay for it'," Mr Hall said.

"Unfortunately, it is now time for the industry as a whole to take ownership of its own direction."

Prize money from the state's premier Stradbroke Handicap horserace will be slashed from $2 million to $1.5 million and prize money allotted to harness racing will also take a hit.

"What Queensland racing needs to do is be sustainable and it's got to come for base where it's able to support itself," Racing Minister Bill Byrne said.

He said the government would guarantee $21 million in funding for country racing clubs for four years to offset the impact of the RQ cuts.

Mr Byrne was due to table the government's response to a damning report into animal cruelty in the greyhound industry on Thursday afternoon.

The minister would also introduce a bill to establish a new integrity commission for the racing industry and expand the RQ board from five to seven members.

Mr Byrne said the government would advertise for board positions, which he expected to be filled by April 2016, this weekend.


- Slashing $18 million in prize money

- Reopening of Eagle Farm racecourse in May 2016

- Deepening relationships with UBET and bookmakers to drive wagering on racing

- Revised race program to maximise wagering potential

- Strategically linking race meetings with local events

- Assisting clubs, particularly country clubs, in improving management and exploring new revenue streams.

(Source: Racing Queensland and Queensland government)