On 23 May 2013 the Queensland Racing Commission of Inquiry (Inquiry) was established in response to allegations about the management of the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing industries in Queensland. Such allegations concerned Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) and its predecessors, Queensland Racing Limited, Greyhounds Queensland Limited and Queensland Harness Racing Limited as well as their controlled entities including Queensland Race Product Co Limited.
The detailed 488 page report of the commissioner, the Hon Margaret White AO, was issued on 7 February 2014 (Report).
The primary focus of the Inquiry was the operations of the various entities during the period 1 January 2007 to 30 April 2012. The terms of reference of the inquiry are summarised in the Report under eight broad headings:
- Procurement, Contract Management and Financial Accountability;
- Management and Culture;
- RQL Corporate Governance;
- Governance Oversight;
- Employment Contracts of Executives;
- Tattsbet – Race Fields Information1;
- Funds Transfer2; and
- Future Governance and Other Matters.
A number of recommendations were made in the Report including that the conduct of various individuals should be examined further by ASIC to determine whether they breached their duties as directors. In addition, the Report recommends that executive government:
- consider amalgamating the policy and compliance functions of the Office of Racing with another established and compatible government regulator such as the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation, avoiding creating any separate racing industry business unit and ensuring compliance functions and skills are transferrable across other industries within the regulator;
- investigate whether the interests of racing integrity require the Racing Science Centre (RSC) to be a dedicated scientific facility within government and consider the advantages of absorption within a larger organisation such as a university or of outsourcing the scientific work now carried out by the RSC;
- consider making changes to section 9AL(1) of the Racing Act 2002 (Qld) (Racing Act), at a time appropriate for the good governance of the board, to require the chairperson of the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board (QACRIB) to be one of the two other members of the board mentioned in section 9AI(1)(d) of the Racing Act;
- review the suitability and efficacy of the present model of QACRIB as a statutory authority assisted by the three codes boards, and the position of the Integrity Commissioner, to meet the needs and best interests of the three codes of racing and the stakeholders in the racing industry in Queensland but not before the second anniversary of commencement, that is, after 1 May 2015; and
- initiate a consultative review, including to identify a sustainable financial model to support the three codes of racing in Queensland to reduce reliance on direct government funding, and in so doing to consider the desirability of a national regulatory body for wagering.