IT was the biggest story in greyhound racing in Queensland since the live baiting scandal all but brought the sport to its knees – but strangely – perhaps even sadly – it did not rate one line in the mainstream media.

An industry meeting in Brisbane this week, attended by almost 200 stakeholders and addressed by Queensland Greyhound Board Chairman Michael Byrne and Racing Queensland CEO Darren Condon, ended in controversial circumstances.

All but one of those in attendance supported a virtual motion of no confidence in RQ’s handling of the ‘live baiting’ saga and called on the All Codes Board, chaired by Kevin Dixon, to resign or at least stand down pending the outcome of the Government-ordered review.

Only one media outlet – Phil Purser of justracing – covered the meeting in detail and reported on the industry call for action instigated by Queensland Greyhound Breeders’ Owners’ and Trainers’ Associaton president Tony Zammit.

Purser quoted Zammit as intervening before the meeting was officially closed and making the following statement to the floor: ‘I’ve listened to everyone and everything tonight. I’ve had lots of emails and lots of phone calls from people who are absolutely horrified at what’s gone on and I was just wondering if people are feeling the same way?

‘I listened to all the questions and one question I think that everybody here isn’t satisfied with and that’s the question, of due to the fact that Racing Queensland has failed in their duty of care to our industry of owners, trainers and breeders by not taking action when warnings were given by the animal liberation people – Hayley Cotton – and others. Same happened in Sydney and Melbourne.

‘I don’t buy the excuse of an email got lost in the post or lost in the ditch. The report I read in the Gold Coast Bulletin said a number of emails were sent. Now $3 million of our industry money is now being spent on something that could have been fixed a long time ago if Racing Queensland had have acted when all these emails were sent backwards and forwards and our own (Racing Queensland) Integrity officers had stepped in to investigate, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now. We might have got five minutes of publicity then. (loud applause) I firmly believe if it’s happened in New South Wales and Victoria that the greyhound Boards have been stood down and I think it’s because the governments (in those two States) probably said you’ve failed in your duty of care to look after your own industry and I call on Racing Queensland (All Codes Board) to stand down or resign, until a full inquiry has been held and let our own three Board members from the (Racing Queensland) Greyhound Board take over until everything has been sorted out. Cause $3 million wasted is coming out of all our pockets and I am very angry about it.

‘I move a motion that they (the All Codes Board) all be stood down or that they resign until everything has been sorted out. Can I get a seconder? (There was no shortage of seconders). All those in favour (a show of hands was unanimously in favour of the motion being carried). Those against (one hand went skyward) prompting Tony Zammit to comment, “One person. I rest my case.’

This followed a meeting where QGB Chairman Byrne made the stunning admission that greyhound racing ‘not just here, but throughout the country, is very close to death.’

Byrne – but more especially RQ CEO Condon – came in for plenty of criticism during the meeting. In fact, according to the justracing report, Condon was at times heckled and drowned out by protests as he tried to answer questions.

Bouquets to Byrne and Condon for fronting the angry stakeholders and at least attempting to explain the situation but brickbats to The Courier-Mail for failing to report on the stunning outcome to the meeting.

It is another example of the favoritism and biased support that Kevin Dixon has from his good mate Nathan Exelby, the CM Turf Editor, when not one line is run on calls for him and his board to resign or stand down pending the outcome of the Review. More favoritism, more privileged coverage for mates at the top in racing, more neglect of the rights of aggrieved people in the industry to have their say in the one forum that should be a level playing field - the major daily newspaper.

But it’s what racing in Queensland has come to expect from the CM from the days of Bart Sinclair to the current era of his anointed one Nathan Exelby. It doesn’t take much for one of those RQ despised websites – this time justracing – to show them up or highlight bias in the CM coverage.

Here’s hoping that the new Racing Minister Bill Byrne was well informed on the outcome of the meeting. As we at letsgohorseracing having said before. It’s time to stop pussy-footing around on the part of the new Labor Government. Dixon and his cronies should be sacked now, not next week, not next month, not after the inevitable outcome of the Greyhound Review – RIGHT NOW.

The ‘live baiting’ controversy – or more to the point failure of RQ to do anything about this practice – is only the tip of the iceberg. The poor performance of RQ under the leadership of Kevin Dixon continues to be highlighted on a daily basis – the latest drama involving the tracks throughout the state which are in a disgraceful state and continuing controversy over lack of action by stewards and integrity staff, with terrible rumors circulating about distribution of Cobalt in Queensland.

The RQ industry motto ‘We Run As One’ is long dead. It has been replaced by ‘We All Sink Together’ – but rest assured little King Kev and his mates will have already entered the life rafts.

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