Former board members of Racing Queensland claim a $3 million probe into the industry failed to investigate a number of management issues.
A $3 million inquiry into Queensland’s racing industry failed to investigate a number of significant management issues, former racing board members say.
They claim the government “conveniently cut off” the terms of reference for the inquiry in April last year, meaning many issues weren’t investigated and are now causing serious concern for industry members.
Lawyers for former Racing Queensland (RQL) chairman Bob Bentley and board members Bill Ludwig, Tony Hanmer and Wayne Milner on Monday released a four-page response to the inquiry’s findings.
They say the Queensland attorney-general’s description of RQL pre April 2012 as “the dark days of racing” shows an unbalanced reading of the commission’s 488-page report.
“While there are some matters that may be the subject of further investigation, there are many other matters that any fair-minded reader would be interested to know,” it said.
The response states that “wild accusations” about millions and millions of dollars being spent by RQL on certain projects had not been substantiated.
“In the aftermath of the Commission’s report, almost nothing has been said of how these wild accusations have proved to be without foundation,” it said.
The Queensland Racing Commission of Inquiry report, handed down on February 7, was scathing on the conduct of Mr Bentley and Mr Ludwig.
Commissioner Margaret White recommended the men be referred to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
A key allegation is that the men may have breached their duties by failing to resolve a deal between RQL and gambling giant Tattsbet.
That issue is currently before the Supreme Court in Brisbane, with RQL alleging it’s owed up to $130 million by Tattsbet in access fees paid by corporate bookies.
The response from the former RQL board and executives said Mr Bentley had been criticised for “taking some steps to clarify the potential position for RQL when he was at the time a director of Tatts” and then slammed for not using his position to seek a resolution.
“It seems that he was damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t,” the response said.
White also recommended eight other racing identities be referred to the watchdog for investigation, including Mr Hanmer and Mr Milner.