Queensland racing bill passes despite LNP opposition
THE controversial Racing Integrity Bill has passed in Queensland despite staunch opposition from LNP members, including Nanango MP Deb Frecklington.
Parliament members voted on the bill last night, which aimed to establish a new Queensland Racing Integrity Commission responsible for animal welfare.
Mrs Frecklington said members of the horse racing industry did not want the bill passed as it gave "extraordinary policing powers" to the proposed commission.
"They have asked us not to support this bill, because it was drafted without any consultation with the greyhound, harness or thoroughbred racing sectors," Mrs Frecklington said.
"It removes racing participants from the operational control over their own industry."
Mrs Frecklington said legislature changes left country race clubs fearful for their future.
"Since the Labor government was elected all I have seen is the return of concern, angst and worry amongst this wonderful industry," she said.
A Commission of Inquiry into Queensland greyhound racing found the industry failed to safeguard animal welfare through self-regulation.
Racing minister Grace Grace said the bill secured the stability and future of racing.
"This government is not prepared to sit back and do nothing after we had a very comprehensive inquiry and accepted the recommendations of that inquiry," Ms Grace said.
She said the bill provided equal power to Racing Queensland and the new QRIC to investigate animal cruelty matters.
"It is just a parallel power that gives both the ability to look into the issue of animal cruelty and into integrity issues and to collect and share information where they suspect that an offence is being committed," Ms Grace said.
Speaker Peter Wellington broke the deadlock among Queensland parliament members to pass the bill.
Establishing the QRIC is expected to cost $24 million.
The bill will also reform the structure of the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board and dissolve the three individual racing boards, the Racing Animal Welfare Integrity Board and the Racing Disciplinary Board.