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Qld Minister Slams Townsville Turf Club
Queensland Minister For Racing Peter Lawlor issued a statement declaring: "There is a great deal of misinformation being peddled around by some in the racing industry. I'd like to set the record straight. The only reason the Townsville Turf Club has the freehold to Cluden Park Racecourse is because the government gave them the land in 2005. The people of Queensland have a right to expect land that was given to a race club would be used for the purposes of racing. If the Townsville Turf Club wishes to be a property developer, perhaps they should have made a commercial offer to buy the land. The Townsville Turf Club is suffering from years of mismanagement & has posted successive losses of $100,000 in 2007-08 & $390,000 in 2008-09, with a forecast loss for 2009-10 of up to $500,000. Yet they are now asking the local racing industry trust them, without oversight, to carry out risky commercial activities on a piece of land they were given for the benefit of the entire racing industry. The Townsville Turf Club is only able to operate through funding it is given by the industry, through the control body Queensland Racing. The Club does not fund its prize-money & is also provided with operating expenses from Queensland Racing. Without industry support, the club would not be operating. The amendments to the Racing Act 2002 are to safeguard the investment that the Queensland racing industry & the taxpayers of Queensland have made in race clubs. Rather than looking to reclaim ownership of racecourses, the Queensland Government has given more than $60 million worth of government land back to the racing industry in the last 10 years. We are now providing in excess of $80 million over 4 years to upgrade the infrastructure at Queensland racecourses to help them prosper into the future. In addition, the Townsville Turf Club has been allocated 39 TAB meetings for 2010-11. This is an increase of 10 TAB meetings on 2009-10."