Following on from the cobalt and greyhound racing scandals that have imploded on racing in the last few weeks, I thought that I’d go back and review what was written in the Annual Report for the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board, trading as Racing Queensland, which was presented to parliament after the 2013/14 year.

The aforesaid Annual Report was signed by Kevin Dixon and Darren Condon and was dated 29 August 2014, so given the fact that that information was only signed and passed on to government less than six months ago, it’s certainly not ancient history.

Racing Queensland Chairman of the All Codes Racing Industry Board, Kevin Dixon, told the State government in his 2013/14 annual report, in part (Editor’s note: Please note I have specifically underlined parts of the Annual Report to highlight what was said):

“I’m pleased to present the second annual report for the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board trading as Racing Queensland.

“The Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board came into being through an Act of Queensland Parliament on May 1, 2013 and is a statutory board under the oversight of the Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. As such, this past year was our first full year of operation.

“This year has undoubtedly seen a significant change to the administration of racing in Queensland with the four boards (All Codes Board and the three Code Boards) working together to lead racing into the future.

“The financial year of 2013/14 is, in my view, best reviewed in two distinct parts. The first part July 1, 2013 to June 28, 2014, saw the industry going about its work in much the same way as the previous year, whilst holding its collective breath in regard to the future.

“The second part of the year was the two days 29-30 June 2014, in which the industry turned overnight from one which was full of potential but without the means nor security to realise that potential, into one that was well able to celebrate the future with confidence.

“We are also very pleased with the progress made this year in relation to infrastructure projects. In particular, we have seen work start in relation to primary venues in each code. Major works have now begun at Eagle Farm, Cronulla Park (Logan), and Albion Park.

“These works will ensure that not only are nationally competitive rewards provided by our racing schedule, but also that our facilities are the envy of other racing jurisdictions.

“I would like to thank our Chief Executive Officer Darren Condon, our management team and all our staff for the focus and commitment they have steadfastly delivered.

Under the heading “VISION” it was written:

“Racing Queensland is a premier sporting body representing our three racing codes: greyhounds, harness and thoroughbreds. We invest in our people to realise their potential by offering high-class learning and development programs and career opportunities. We have a reputation for support and success that people want to be a part of, which makes us an employer of choice. Our industry creates sporting heroes and legends. Racing Queensland provides the best training, stabling, racing and facilities in the country. Through our people, we set the standard for integrity in wagering, racing and the industry as a whole. We are seen by all sports as the blueprint for how to conduct successful business with integrity.

“Through collaboration with our partners, we deliver an exciting, innovative and continuously evolving racing product.

“We set the standard worldwide in the humane treatment of our animals and champion their welfare. We treat our animals, which our sport is totally dependent on, with the same respect and dignity we treat all our sporting legends.

Under the “OBJECTIVES” section of the annual report it stated:

Championing animal welfare –

Expand welfare education programs and further develop guidelines for breeding, training and competition.

Increase intelligence capability and share information with other welfare groups.

Under the “CELEBRATING OUR PEOPLE” section of the Annual Report it read:

Celebrating our people – Nurture our organisation and an industry that is people-led. Create a culture for success through recognition and rewards.

Upholding integrity – Ensure the Queensland racing industry operates with integrity at all times. Build our intelligence capability and strengthen our grip on noncompliant activity.

Under the “VALUES” section of the Annual Report it stated:

The values that underpin the behaviour of our people at Racing Queensland are:

Professional and ethical – We will at all times be professional and ethical in our dealings with stakeholders and colleagues.

On the “Celebrating Our People” section it noted on the “WADE BIRCH” profile:

“Wade is required to report directly to the Racing Integrity Commissioner on all matters affecting the integrity of the Queensland racing industry. Wade is also required to maintain effective relationships with various levels of government and is responsible for implementing recommendations from the Racing Animal Welfare and Integrity Board and those arising through Government audit processes.

The CEO Darren Condon’s report read in part:

“Greyhound racing continued to prosper and show that it is truly the 2020 of racing with growth in its awareness right across the state, particularly thanks to great events run at Ipswich and the Brisbane Greyhound Club. Welfare continues to be a major focus for Racing Queensland across all its animal participants, in particular the Greyhound Adoption Program, which has been a significant contributor to our welfare program.

“Additionally, the announcement of the development of the grandstand at Albion Park for both greyhound and harness Racing and the Logan one turn greyhound track will ensure another big year of infrastructure projects. For our greyhound participants, the Logan track will be an absolute bonus to the industry, which has been demanding a one turn track for some time. These key initiatives of the Industry Infrastructure Strategy are vitally important.

“The 2013/14 year was highly successful for the greyhound industry in Queensland. Upon review, significant progress has been made in the last 12 months. The commencement of long-term plans to secure the future of greyhound racing in this state was supplemented by additional financial returns being passed on to stakeholders.

“Highlights off the racetrack included the State Government announcement for the approval of a new greyhound racing facility at Logan, to be completed in July 2015. The state-of-the-art one-turn track will be the first new greyhound facility in Queensland since 1988 when Parklands was developed as a dual code track.

“Highly experienced Steward James Dart was appointed to the position of Chief Stipendiary Steward of the Greyhound code. James brings 15 years’ experience as a thoroughbred steward to the role and has used that knowledge to introduce a number of initiatives and procedural changes to the integrity process applied at greyhound meetings. (Editor’s note: to the best of my knowledge he had little or no experience as a greyhound steward before taking on that role)

“During the financial year, the Clifford Park Racecourse surface upgrade to turf and the Bundall Racecourse facilities project were completed with the training pool commencing in the 2014/15 financial year. Other projects included Cronulla Park Greyhound facility commenced, Brisbane Racing Club – Eagle Farm Racecourse racing surface upgrade was approved.

“Finally our industry stakeholders need to be acknowledged as without them and their passion there would be no racing industry. I am sure with their support and the Queensland Government’s commitment to our industry, the coming years will see significant growth and positivity.

I’ll let website visitors read the aforesaid before deciding whether parts of what were written less than six months ago by the Chairman Kevin Dixon and the CEO Darren Condon in the 2013/2014 Annual Report for Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board, trading as Racing Queensland, are in fact now laughable.

Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au there’s the What’s In A Name segment from last Saturday’s races. On www.sydneyracing.com.au Bernard Kenny pens a fascinating story on John McCririck which names the best steeplechaser and best flat racehorse that John has seen in his long life to this point, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Victorian racing is perused.

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