NEW RACING MINISTER BILL BYRNE PUTS A “PAUSE” ON THE CRONULLA PARK PROJECT THAT NEVER STARTED

25/03/15

At the outset let me advise that I attended the greyhound industry meeting at Albion Park last night at 7pm – and it was what I’d call a “lively” meeting. Justracing recorded the evening’s speakers, so tomorrow I’ll put up a story on that meeting. Thoroughbreds and harness racing also got a mention from one of the key speakers and one of the speakers came in for plenty of verbal abuse, so I’ll bring all that news to readers tomorrow.

But today’s story focuses on the new Racing Minister of Queensland – Bill Byrne. After the initial obvious euphoria of his party winning government recently, which was dubbed as the biggest boilover since Polly put the kettle on that time, Bill Byrne has certainly had a baptism of fire. One can imagine his alarm would go off each morning and he’d reach out and hit the mute button and would pull the sheets over his head and try to go back to sleep – for the entire day. After all why would you bound out of the cot to go and oversee such disasters within your portfolio as the live baiting scandal that was aired recently on Four Corners or the cobalt crisis or the latest one regarding the use of whips in thoroughbred racing?

But life is what it is – and the Labor Party obviously felt that Bill Byrne was the right man for the job. As Racing Minister he’s the boss of the three codes that make up the industry – therefore the responsibility that goes with the “boss” title is that the buck stops firmly with him.

Bill Byrne originally told RadioTAB head greyhound racecaller Paul Dolan, who writes a well-read column each Friday for the Ipswich daily, The Queensland Times, even after the Four Corners program had aired that the new Logan greyhound track would proceed. In fact on 27/2/15 in his weekly “Dogwatch” column, Dolan wrote, “Byrne has come out with some sensible and carefully calculated comments concerning the present (live baiting) crisis in the greyhound industry. He states there will be no attempt to shut greyhound racing down. And that the new greyhound track at Logan should and will go ahead”.

But sadly now it appears that Bill Byrne has had to retract that idea. Let me say the last thing the greyhound industry in Queensland needs is more what I’d call “constant ginning around” on this project. The former LNP State government and the present Racing Queensland crew have all been “ginning around” on this project for years. For the benefit of those that have never seen the subsequent article that I penned on it, Justracing was the only media outlet that attended a greyhound industry meeting in July 2012 at Albion Park where the main speaker was Racing Queensland LNP appointed Chairman Kevin Dixon. The total inaction that has happened since that day is what I would call “absolutely and utterly pathetic”. All the promises that Kevin Dixon made at that meeting are an insult to the intelligence of normal people. If you haven’t read what he said at that meeting it is found on this thread below:

https://www.justracing.com.au/index.php?news_page=1&artid=4086&catid=52

Now we have a new State government offering hopefully a new start and they are going cold on the project simply because of the live baiting scandal. I say “simply because of the live baiting scandal” as it should be totally irrelevant in the general score of things because if Racing Queensland and the LNP knew what they were doing the track would have been operational ages ago. Well it certainly would be if I were running the joint.

You see it’s not the LNP, or the Labor Party, or Kevin Dixon’s industry to gin around and constantly play silly buggers with. Between them all they cumulatively come up with more excuses than an unfaithful husband or wife for their inaction. It will be Logan City Council problems one day, a contaminated site the next day that could potentially kill millions, gambling issues being created in the local community the following day – and now live baiting. It’s all so stupid it simply defies belief, as the greyhound industry not only expect – but can rightfully demand – a new greyhound track somewhere around South-East Queensland as the government and Racing Queensland have been trustees of “greyhound industry money” which was compensation for the Parklands greyhound track being forcibly closed by the Queensland State Government way back in 2008 to build a hospital. At the time the greyhound industry were given $10 million in compensation. Now if the right thing was done by the people that were entrusted with that money it would be fair to think that today that $10million may have grown to $12 million or $13 million dollars, as surely it wouldn’t have been sitting around idly in a bank account earning zero interest whilst everyone constantly is “ginning around” with where a new greyhound track should go. As I said in a Channel 10 interview on Monday, which was filmed at Cronulla Park, words to the effect, “It wouldn’t matter whether a new greyhound track goes in at Logan, Ipswich, Toowoomba or where it goes, the simple facts and realities are that it’s greyhound industry money that was allocated all those years ago”. Unfortunately that part of the interview never made it to air.

On 21/7/09 I penned a story entitled “Gold Coast Greyhound Club need industry participants and interested parties support by 7 August” which can be visited on this thread below:

http://www.carnivalracing.com/index.php?news_page=66&artid=3284&catid=52

If the current rot that is happening in the greyhound industry from Racing Queensland and the State government wasn’t so serious it would be funny as both entities are running around like chooks with their heads cut off to the point where we have three inquiries into the greyhound industry either underway or about to get underway. We have Racing Queensland people all madly running around with security guards raiding licensed greyhound trainers to see how many pigs, possums or rabbits they must all allegedly keep at home under the bed to use on an “as and when” basis. Then we’ve got confiscated greyhounds all over the joint and are holding them at $55 a day and I’m reliably informed that the security companies are getting $60 an hour for 24 hours a day to stand guard at the front gate of the properties where these seized greyhounds are held. (I emailed a question to Racing Queensland to answer that aforesaid $60 an hour claim at last night’s greyhound industry meeting, but sadly my two questions didn’t make the cut). Then we have former Police Commissioner Jim O’Sullivan who is now Racing Queensland Integrity Commissioner running around with his own inquiry. And soon Alan McSporran will launch his inquiry. I wonder will someone launch a fourth inquiry into the three other inquiries. Fair dinkum the mind boggles.

So the latest saga in all this nonsense is that the new Racing Minister Bill Byrne has ordered a “pause” to the work at the new greyhound track at Logan. The Sunday Mail last Sunday wrote in part “Mr Byrne said he had also refused to give approval to a request from RQ (Racing Queensland) to engage a contractor for the Cronulla Park project at this stage”. The Sunday Mail then quoted Byrne as saying “It is my view that it is in the best interests of the racing industry to pause the project at this time….”. Now am I going mad? With the greatest respect to the new Racing Minister, how the hell can you “pause” something that never started? If he’s refused “to engage a contractor” how can anything have started?

Then the next day The Courier Mail had another article on the same subject under the headline: “New greyhound track put on hold for baiting review” and that article stated in part “Bill Byrne said he had formally directed Racing Queensland to stop work on its Cronulla Park track at Logan, south of Brisbane”. Byrne’s quoted words in the article in part were “It is my view that it is in the best interests of the racing industry to pause the project at this time….” which is the exact same quote The Sunday Mail used the day before. So I don’t know who is treating the new Racing Minister like a mushroom and who is feeding him on bullshit, but the Logan greyhound track has never started, so how the hell can something that never started need to “pause”? Website visitors can exclusively see that the Logan dog track has never started by visiting a special montage of photos that I have put together today on my www.brisbaneracing.com.au website and my photos were taken as recently as last Monday. By viewing those photos from his own office without having to travel to Cronulla Park with a police escort, Bill Byrne will be able to see the project has never got off the ground in a full term under Racing Queensland Chairman Kevin Dixon.

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