Dead greyhounds aren’t the only skeletons in Racing Queensland’s closet.
The state government says the body is responsible for failing to stop the disappearances and killing of thousands of dogs and turning a blind eye to the practice of live baiting.
But Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed Racing Queensland’s crisis is deeper – it’s also grappling with “shocking” amounts of debt.
KPMG administrator Ian Hall found the body’s losses will likely top $11 million this financial year and its draft budget shows it’s anticipating a loss of $21 million in 2015/16.
“This is shocking news and it has been uncovered within just a day of Mr Hall taking the reigns of this organisation,” Ms Palaszczuk told parliament on Wednesday.
The premier said the debt revelations justify the government’s decision to sack all four boards overseeing racing in the state, including the harness and thoroughbred racing boards.
“I stand by my government’s decision to provide the CEO of Racing Queensland (Darren Condon) with a show cause notice and giving him five days to respond,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I stand by my government’s decision to abolish the boards of all racing codes in Queensland.
“I am determined that this important industry will go forward with a clean slate.”
Ms Palaszczuk has also announced former Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judge John Muir had been appointed as chair of the new all codes board set up to oversee greyhound, harness and thoroughbred racing.
But Brisbane Turf Club Director Peter Bredhauer has warned the government to put politics aside during the restructuring process.
“If it doesn’t (appoint Labor associates) it’ll be the first time it hasn’t,” said Mr Bredhauer, who recognised the Liberal National Party was guilty of the same thing.
“I don’t know why it is but the political landscape in Queensland, every time we have a change of government, for some reason the racing industry has to suffer and they have to have a complete change of direction.”
The state government has insisted appointments made during the overhaul won’t be political.