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MY CALL: STATE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO PRESS THE RESET BUTTON TO AVOID POTENTIAL STRIKE ACTION

By David Fowler | Tuesday, October 9, 2018

David Fowler is the principal thoroughbred caller for Radio TAB. David, who is a keen form student and punter, has enjoyed a lifetime involvement in the racing media. His personal blog, ‘My Call’, appears exclusively on HRO.

The Palaszczuk State Government needs to set an urgent reset button with the Queensland racing industry.

That seed may germinate today after key thoroughbred industry groups meet Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe where potential strike action after an unsatisfactory response on the Point Of Consumption Tax will be first, middle and last on the agenda.

My observation in recent weeks is that this is a scenario steadily becoming a three cornered contest between stakeholders, Racing Queensland and the State Government.

Rather than being reasonably united, the blame game between the three has now risen to an untenable level.

It wasn't meant to be this way.

State Governments for too long in Queensland have treated the racing industry as a subservient cash cow, hoping their leather-backed seat power would mask and trump their lack of knowledge and passion.

The controlling body, literally the man in the middle, has attempted the supreme juggling act yet generally come up short.

They are entitled to some slack. Forced to work with an enforced tri-code model since 2010, now unanimously scorned, the overlapping interests of each code has created issue after issue and prompted a regular hesitancy on decision making.

Generally, few have been happy in Queensland racing for almost a decade. One code sniping at another is the rule not the exception.

Amazingly, this State Government continues to laud this merger. What would they know?

The controlling body has its hands tied.

The report card of QRIC after two years is disappointing to say the least. Another State Government invention which they continue to trumpet. Again, what would they know?

This one is out of the controlling body's hands but they're unlikely to voice any public opposition.

QRIC is tied to a hopelessly inadequate justice system called QCAT. The State Government watches idly, not lifting a finger to alleviate the snail's pace movement of confirming right or wrong.

On balance, the State Government has fireproofed country racing for a short term period and given Racing Queensland some breathing space. It deserves credit for it.

So this is the largely broken house foundation of Queensland racing before the Point Of Consumption tax is lauded as the potential financial saviour of the industry.

When you're down and depressed, a bright light shines brighter than it really is. A false dawn, you might say.

A better prizemoney deal is the mana from heaven that will generate from this most talked about tax.

Racing Queensland talks it up, enlists the support of the industry, and gives it it's best shot. Cautious optimism waits in the wings.

Yet the result is an obscure explanation peeking through a weekend overloaded with racing and sport and a Racing Minister fleeing the scene in search of a holiday.

Sadly, once the obscurity is pulled apart there isn't a scintilla of financial support for the thoroughbred industry that is the heavy lifter in the business of promotion and turnover.

And just to pour the proverbial fuel on the fire, the POC "largesse" gives a $20 million infrastructure grant to the harness and greyhound industries.

And even they don't sit up and cheer. Too many broken promises from, hey guess who, a State Government and a controlling body.

If there's one way to ignite a racing bushfire pit one code against another. This Government did it and probably didn't even realise the folly in such a move.

And now we arrive at today.

This potential strike action is more than just losing a few race meetings. This is a metaphor from a disgusted industry sick and tired of being treated as mugs.

Have no fear, this brewing drama will see key figures lose their jobs. Maybe they're unlucky. Wrong place at the wrong time but I'm certain things won't stay the same.

There is time, albeit precious little, for the one entity who can change it all.

That's the State Government.

That time started yesterday.

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David Fowler
David Fowler
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best