Image for Cloud over $11m racing splurge. Racing Minister loses the plot

The Tasmanian Greens today (Wed) raised serious questions regarding upgrades worth $11 million, at Spreyton Racetrack, saying it appears upgrades were well underway before proper due-process had been fulfilled to secure funding certainty.

Greens Racing spokesperson Kim Booth MP said he had put to the Minister, Bryan Green that there must be an explanation detailing under what authority he acted, regarding the expenditure of $11 million dollars of public money.

“It beggars belief that $11 million worth of work at Spreyton Racetrack could have been started before the funding deed was signed,” Mr Booth said.

“The funding deed, signed months after the work started details the requirements that Tas Racing must go through to access the so called $40 million loan facility.”

“The Greens believe there is a serious case to be answered as the process undertaken to ensure all checks had been undertaken before the Minister signed off on the expenditure on 26 April 2011.”

“It seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same and I will be pursuing an explanation until I get one.”

“The Racing industry is in crisis and so is the public purse, and to pour $11 million of scarce public money into Spreyton without a state-wide industry plan is reprehensible,” Mr Booth said.

• Thursday: Racing Minister loses the plot ...

Consultants Report Finds $13.1 Million Spreyton Racetrack Unviable and Racing Minister Loses the Plot!
Kim Booth MP
Greens Racing spokesperson

The Tasmanian Greens today continued to pressure the Treasurer, Lara Giddings, over the processes surrounding the expenditure of what has now become $13.1 million of public funds on the Spreyton Racetrack.

Greens Racing spokesperson Kim Booth MP said this followed questioning yesterday of the Racing Minister, Bryan Green, as to how the works could possibly have started months before the funding deed was signed.

“I was stunned at the failure of the Treasurer to explain how she could possibly have authorised the expenditure of public money against the clear advice of Wise Lord & Ferguson that the project was commercially unviable and in the absence of an industry plan,” Mr Booth said.

“Even more extraordinary was the display of rage from Racing Minister, Bryan Green, when hand-balled the question by the Premier.”

“The Racing Minister’s extraordinary personal attack on myself for asking the question does nothing to allay my fears, or that of many in the racing industry, that decisions on the future of the industry are ad hoc, un-strategic and risk its long term future.”

“In times of financial stringency and with potential cut backs to the public service looming, the industry needs honest answers instead of abuse from an out-of-control Minister.”

“Where is the industry plan? Where is the capacity to maintain this infrastructure into the future and will this become another drain on the industry budget like Elwick,” Mr Booth said.

Download: Letter from Treasurer to Tas Racing CEO, Spreyton Racecourse Redevelopment, 4 Feb 2011, (1 pg):