ALBERT WILLIAMS, a regular contributor from REDCLIFFE, made these observations in the event that Labor regains Government in Queensland: 

‘WITH the very real prospect that the LNP control of racing may be gone, at least for another three years – and with it Racing Minister Steve Dickson who most believe was remote controlled by Treasurer Tim Nicholls – may believe it’s time to rid the place of the Chairman for Everything, Kevin Dixon.

Contrary to the crap his spin doctor at The Courier-Mail would have us swallow, all but pleading for his good mate to keep his job in an article on Monday, there are plenty in racing now coming forward and calling for change.

These are the stakeholders who weren’t prepared to speak out that feel they were treated like second rate citizens while an unfair proportion of the big stakes increases and infrastructure funding went to clubs and venues considered to be supporters of the Chairman.

Whether this was the case or not there is a need for a level playing field in racing in Queensland and that doesn’t only exist in the race for stakes and redevelopment of tracks and facilities. Integrity needs a massive shake-up amid news that one of the most high profile of stewards in the state – brought back on a massive contract for political reasons – could be calling it quits after the Winter Carnival.

These are the things that you won’t read or hear in the mainstream racing media that many stakeholders in the racing industry want to see happen if Labor wins Government:

·         THE removal of Kevin Dixon and his ‘yes men’ from the Boards and high level administrative positions at Racing Queensland across the three codes.

·         THE return of Barry Taylor and Brad Steele, the two Board members that resigned reportedly because they believed a better TAB deal could be done between Tatts and RQ and that they were not being consulted by the Chairman.

·         AN investigation into the TAB deal to determine if there was any Government interference and why the Racing Minister and the RQ Chairman allegedly shut Taylor and Steele out of the negotiation process.

·         WIDESPREAD changes to the Integrity situation by bringing in a couple of high profile stewards to replace Wade Birch and Allan Reardon (who is rumored to be retiring soon) and an assurance that there will be a separation of powers between integrity/stewards and Board members/administrators. This is the only way that punters and the racing public will regain confidence and return to betting on the Queensland product.

·         A MASSIVE shake-up of race date allocation, prizemoney distribution and the infrastructure funding process to convince all those involved in the industry that it is a level playing field.

·         DUMPING of the Cronulla Park greyhound facility to alleviate asbestos fears that continue to dog the project.

·         AN examination of the deal done by RQ and Magic Millions boss Gerry Harvey and an explanation to racing stakeholders on just how much industry money is being poured into the pockets of one of Australia’s richest men.

·         A LIFTING of the secrecy that has grown beyond belief since Kevin Dixon took control at RQ replacing it with more open governance with greater information being provided to the stakeholders and an end to the ‘exclusives’ to mates in the racing media who put the slant that RQ wants on these releases.

·         REGARDLESS of whether Labor returns to Government in its own right, in a minority situation or if the LNP falls across the line with the help of the independents, it is time for a change in racing.

If one wanted to talk of square-ups, it could be assumed that Labor heavyweight and former RQ Board member Bill Ludwig – after being dragged through the mud at the latest Inquiry – would have a score to settle with a couple of people, especially Kevin Dixon.

Time will tell whether Dixon survives if Labor wins Government. He does have the fall-back option of reminding the Labor Party it was one of their former respected Ministers in Rob Schwarten who was responsible for appointing him to merge the warring Queensland Turf Club and Brisbane Turf Club into one entity the Brisbane Racing Club which he did with great success.

The down-side of that is that Dixon will have to convince some influential Labor figures and supporters that he didn’t jump ship to the LNP when they gained a massive landslide victory and then, in the opinion of many in racing, did the bidding of his mate, the Treasurer Tim Nicholls, whose electorate covers the Eagle Farm precinct.

There are some interesting times ahead regardless of who forms a new Government – and if the LNP and Labor have learnt anything from massive landslides against them at the past two elections – there is need for massive change – especially in racing.’


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