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Queensland Racing Crisis Deepens
Queensland racing is facing the likelihood of significant prize money cuts as a result of a forecast $28 million loss by Racing Queensland this financial year, reports the Courier Mail. There is widespread concern in the industry that recent boosts in prize money could be curtailed by the Queensland Labor State Government, with Queensland Racing Minister Bill Byrne refusing to rule anything out. Byrne gave an update on Racing Queensland's fiscal position in Parliament on Thursday, while also revealing that four cases against RQ have been referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission. "The Premier has previously announced expected losses for 2014-15 of $11 million and losses for 2015-16 of $21 million," Byrne said in Parliament. "It is a fact in the weeks since those interim assessments the situation at Racing Queensland has been properly revealed and it is far worse than we thought... the expected losses for this financial year at RQ are now forecast to be $28 million." Byrne criticised former RQ bosses for mismanagement of racing funds and said that some tough decisions would have to be made. "We have uncovered an unhealthy level of poorly or undocumented agreements and commitments to further funding increases by Racing Queensland," he said. "In short, there were unrealistic expectations for revenue growth from wagering that didn't materialise along with generous and growing allocations of prize money as well as subsidies across the industry." He added: "The reality is simply this - Racing Queensland has been operating at a loss and government and industry need to make some tough decisions. There will be robust and realistic discussions to achieve this."