Audit of Qld turf clubs deep in debt

Emma Pollard

Updated May 11, 2010 12:41:00

Queensland Racing has appointed accountants to scrutinise the finances of several of the state’s major turf clubs.

Some, including Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Townsville, have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debts.

Queensland Racing chairman Bob Bentley says changes may be needed to the funding structure.

“Clubs have been saying they’re finding it very, very difficult to make ends meet,” he said.

“We’ve got to make sure as a control body that the club’s operated properly and that’s why we’re looking at introducing a new model and removing some of the issues that they have as far as the upkeep of training tracks away from clubs and making the control body look after them.

“Queensland Racing is looking at saying to a particular club that we’ll maintain racing and training facilities and in lots of cases we’re saying if we’re going to upgrade them considerably and spent millions of dollars upgrading a lot of the facilities we will want to take an equity position.

“I think it’s only reasonable in today’s commercial world that we do that.”

The Brisbane Turf Club says it would be in a better financial position if it was not subsidising Queensland Racing.

Brisbane Turf Club chairman Kevin Dixon says the control body is using “bully boy” tactics.

“He leans towards a model that says just hand everything over to Queensland Racing and they’ll be able to look after it and it’ll be better,” he said.

“I’m not convinced that that model will solve all the problems but in terms of ‘does there need to be a new model and do we need to sit down and talk about it?’ – yes, absolutely – I’m 100 per cent for that.”

The Townsville Turf Club says its welcomes the audit of its books.

Chief executive Michael Charge says they hope to meet with Queensland Racing in the next two months to discuss the future of the club.

“I guess Queensland Racing are looking for transparency across the board with their clubs,” he said.

“I’m sure they’ve always had that and I’m sure they’ll continue to get that.

“But it’s nothing that’s surprising – we’ll look after the auditors and welcome them with open arms.”

Topics: horse-racing, sport, brisbane-4000, australia, qld, bundaberg-4670, cairns-4870, gladstone-4680, longreach-4730, mackay-4740, maroochydore-4558, mount-isa-4825, rockhampton-4700, southport-4215, toowoomba-4350, townsville-4810

First posted May 10, 2010 12:26:00

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