PASSIONATE country racing advocate Robbie Katter is calling on the community to continue showing their support for the industry as the season gets under way in the North West.
The State Member for Mount Isa has been on the front foot to ensure country racing has a healthy and sustainable future, declaring the issue as one of the KAP’s major priorities in the new parliamentary year.
The 2016 racing season in the North West kicks off with the first race meeting of the year on Saturday at Buchanan Park in Mount Isa.
“It’s a great time of the year when the racing season kicks off – it really helps communities come together”,” he said.
“For many Western Queensland towns, going to the races is the social event of the year and plays a vital role in lifting the spirits of communities.”
Mr Katter said there was renewed confidence and cohesion in the industry with the spotlight on the sport in Queensland.
“There has been real unity and determination of the industry around the future of the racing since the Racing Integrity Bill was introduced to Parliament late last year,” he said.
Mr Katter hoped the committee’s deliberations on the future of the racing industry would listen to the concerns of participants.
“Good government should be listening to industry participants, particularly when there is strong unity on that issue,” he said.
Industry knowledge and experience was vital for the new Racing Queensland board with the Tracking to Sustainability report’s recommendations detrimental to the industry, Mr Katter said.
“We need competent leaders with industry knowledge and experience to determine the direction of our industry,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter opposed an impracticable proposal to standardise racing in Queensland, saying the intricacies of country racing, especially in Western Queensland needed to be taken into account.
“To have a remote racecourse in the North West subject to the same compliance standards as Eagle Farm is completely unacceptable and unworkable,” he said.
“If you have a farrier in Hughenden who suddenly has to get compliance checks he is going to think twice about staying in the industry.”
“You have the farriers, the stock feeders, the stablehands – the activity outside the industry and the people who draw a wage from all the race events as we tour around western areas is remarkable.”