INDUSTRY insiders in the north in particular are calling for an inquiry into incentives offered to racing in Mt Isa on behalf of the LNP in the days leading up to Labor forming a minority Government in Queensland.

Not surprisingly Mt Isa was the centre of some hot political manoeuvring last week as the LNP desperately sought the support of the Katter Australia Party as they clung to hope of retaining Government.

Prominent Mt Isa trainer George Tipping – recognized as a stalwart of the KAP – has confirmed that he was approached and asked what racing incentives an LNP Government might offer to help racing, particularly in the north west of the state.


Inducements to the KAP Parliamentarians (Shane Knuth and Bob Katter) were flying thick and fast from the newlook LNP team, headed by Laurie the Loser. Some might say there was everything from highways to nowhere paved with gold to a total eradication of the flying fox population.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and without the support of the KAP members the LNP was well and truly up the creek without a paddle but it seems the ‘good old boys’ network had come to the aid of the party and was rowing madly against the stream.

What surprised most in racing was that the approach to George Tipping was allegedly made by the retired Racing Editor of The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail, Bart Sinclair (pictured above right by News Ltd), now a consultant to the Brisbane Racing Club.

Sinclair, a long-time supporter of the Queensland Turf Club, was a constant critic of the Bob Bentley Board and the previous Labor Government. He has raced horses with Kevin Dixon, who was appointed Chairman for just about Everything Racing when the LNP came to power. They also have shared an ownership interest in a racehorse.

Industry insiders are calling on the new Government and new Racing Minister Bill Byrne, as a matter of urgency, to secure the answers to several questions:

(1)   On behalf of whom was Bart Sinclair seeking the support of the Katter Australia Party Parliamentarians in the north?

(2)   What incentives did he offer and on whose behalf were they offered and how much would these have cost the industry or the Government?

(3)   Is it correct that Mt Isa was offered Saturday racing every week of the year?

(4)   Is it also correct that the Mt Isa Race Club was offered increased prizemoney?

(5)   If this is the case, were the extra prizemoney and race dates offered by Sinclair on behalf of the LNP, if they got the numbers to form a minority Government, or on behlf of Racing Queensland as the control body. And what role does Sinclair hold with either organization and is he being paid to perform these duties on their behalf?

(6)   If Kevin Dixon is a-political, as he maintained in a radio interview recently, then was he aware that his close friend Bart Sinclair was making these offers and was he party to any offer that was made about race dates or prizemoney?

The inducements were quickly relayed to the KAP and the Mt Isa Club and Rob Katter reportedly provided the ‘deputy little big man’ of Queensland racing with a complete bucket list which included a demand for a 52-week racing season in the North West.

The season currently closes in November and starts again in March and George Tipping told Terry Butts of the North Queensland Register 'that is wrong’.

“We have more horses in the north west than Townsville. Why should we be closed down? “They say it’s too hot. Well it’s bloody hot alright – but we don’t have the energy sapping humidity you get on the coast – and they race all year.”

George is a long-time Katter supporter and at the past two elections has been heavily involved as campaign manager. There was also a suggestion that he would be appointed a North Queensland consultant on racing to the LNP had they been re-elected.

The incentive offer got right up the noses of some high profile officials in the north and the volley of protest is now being heard long and loud from many other club officials throughout the state.

“Were the two Dickos, with the help of their mate Tim the Toolman, thinking of making Mt Isa the Toowoomba of the north when it came to handouts?” one prominent official asked.

“Where was the money for these incentives coming from? More to the point were some other more successful clubs on the coast in the north going to suffer as a result?”

As the decision lingered on about which Party would have sufficient support to govern the racing bush telegraph went into overdrive.

The word had spread in industry circles that there had been a quick fire response that the Katter demands were ‘do-able but would need a bit of tinkering.’

Winton-based Kenny Elliott, a popular and outspoken Labor man, was also on the phone pushing Katter to extend the season. Kenny, of course, is one of the remaining old school bookmakers. He treks thousands of kilometres around the bush each year. And he is also a Katter convert.

“His attendance and speech at the Rural Crisis meeting in Winton last year was sensational.

“Katter did more in four hours than the LNP has done in three years,” Elliott told Terry Butts.

“We out here in the bush need Katter – and we also need Barry Taylor as chairman of the Queensland Racing Board.

“That’s our only hope” he said.

HOOFNOTE: BARRY Taylor was the Deputy Chairman of the All Codes Board who resigned in protest at a lack of consultation from Kevin Dixon on a number of issues, especially the new TAB deal being negotiated with Tattersalls. Don’t be surprised if Taylor goes public on several controversial and contentious racing issues from that time now that the Government has changed.

The new Racing Minister Bill Byrne, a former high profile Army officer, is from Rockhampton where he took over the seat occupied for so long by the retired Rob Schwarten. But Labor insiders say don’t count on Kevin Dixon enjoying the same support as he did from Schwarten who appointed him to merge the Queensland Turf Club and Brisbane Turf Club.

They say that ‘little King Kev’ subsequently burnt too many bridges and made too many Labor enemies – like big Bill Ludwig during the latest racing inquiry – for him to survive now that the Government has changed.

Interesting times ahead!


Join Us on Facebook

Racing News

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Getaway & Go Racing &
Day at the Races FREE Ratings
BN: 55127167

Login Form