Revealed: Racing’s secret weapon in funding feud
THE new prizemoney structure for Queensland thoroughbreds starts on Friday at Ipswich, and it will mirror NSW where money is allocated to every runner up until 10th place.
The new deal, brokered last Friday, includes a total package of $26 million, of which $18 million will go into metro and provincial prizemoney.
The distribution spread will be released by Racing Queensland later in the week.
The extra $8 million will be available in six months and is contingent upon RQ and the sector being "receptive to future Government plans''.
Those familiar with the negotiations say Treasurer Jackie Trad and Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe were much more conciliatory last Friday than at the previous meeting.
That was probably linked to strike action and the fact that Magic Millions supremo Katie Page had spoken personally to several Cabinet ministers to explain that the Queensland racing industry was headed for oblivion under the current funding arrangement.
The 64 letters of support from trainers had swamped the Minister and the Premier on Friday and a full-page ad in The Courier-Mail , signed by every major race-club chairman, had also seemingly contributed to the Government's more amenable attitude.
The thoroughbred industry was united on this. Government spin that the industry is well remunerated is facile. The industry employs 43,000 people and injects $1.23 billion annually into the economy.
The challenge for RQ now is to ensure the harness and greyhound codes are not left behind. Expect an announcement as early as Friday on a new $10 million greyhound track for southeast Queensland. All that's required now is ministerial sign-off.
PARENTS PLAY RUSSIAN ROULETTE WITH KIDS' LIVES
THIS is not a trick question. In what area of health does Tanzania, Morocco, Libya, Mauritius, Eritrea, Gambia, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Kenya, Botswana and Lesotho outperform the Gold Coast hinterland and northern NSW?
You may have said they have better marathon runners than we do, and you'd be right.
But there's something much more sinister, much more important, at play here than the fact that they breed better runners.
While the Gold Coast hinterland and northern NSW are two of the most picturesque and beautiful places on the planet, there are some parents who are playing Russian roulette with their children's lives.
In fact, if you are the parent of a toddler worried about contracting measles, whooping cough, rubella, polio or meningococcal, you're safer living in some parts of Africa.
Byron Bay, Mullumbimby and Nimbin have the worst child immunisation rates - by far - in Australia.
In fact, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander five-year-olds have much higher immunisation rates than kids in northern NSW and the Gold Coast at 94.62 per cent, which is now the Australian average.
In OECD countries, the average child immunisation rate is about 94 per cent, with the worst performing country being Mexico at 85 per cent. Australia's average is now 94.42 per cent, ranking it among the top 20 in the world.
Contrast that with immunisation rates released a few days ago, which show that in northern NSW and the Gold Coast hinterland, they are among the worst in the western world.
For example, in babies aged 12-15 months, the immunisation rate in the Richmond Valley (coastal) division was 83.05 per cent.
For kids aged 24-27 months, the rate for Richmond Valley (coastal) dropped to 80.25 per cent. The Richmond Valley (hinterland) rate for the same age bracket was 87.22 per cent and the Tweed Valley was at 87.40 per cent.
In the Richmond Valley (Coastal) the rate was 86.09 per cent at 60 months to 63 months.
In the Gold Coast hinterland the immunisation rate for toddlers aged 12-15 months was 82.95 per cent, and at 24-27 months, it climbed to 84.05 per cent.
Other areas with immunisation rates in the mid-80 per cent range were Beaudesert, Kuranda, Coolangatta, Port Douglas and the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Even areas like the Sydney North Shore suburb of Mosman and the eastern suburbs of the NSW capital are well behind the national average.
Latest statistics from Africa show that 17 countries - about 30 per cent of the statistical area - had measles vaccine coverage of 80 per cent or more, and 20 per cent of the districts had coverage of 90 per cent or more.
How can it be that in a progressive country with one of the best health systems in the world that there are pockets of this country with child immunisation rates that are worse than parts of Africa? Extraordinary.
Parents who don't take advantage of vaccination breakthroughs and its free availability are not only endangering their own kids, but those of other people.
Former Australian of the Year and cervical cancer vaccine inventor Ian Frazer says vaccinations are safe.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said last week that he had met parents who had lost children in the pre-vaccination age because they were in an area where there was low vaccination rates.
They do things differently in places like Byron Bay. With a Greens-led local council, they're quite happy not to put up shark nets to protect swimmers and they were keen to move the date of Australia Day festivities from January 26 until the Prime Minister stepped in.
Parents who don't vaccinate their children are irresponsible and should face harsh fines.
The child immunisation rates between the Gold Coast and Ballina are a national disgrace.
TERMINAL LACK OF VISION
THE Palaszczuk Government has announced its new master plan for The Spit on the Gold Coast, which rules out an integrated casino-tourism resort.
The report also recommends against a cruise-ship terminal on the northern end, even though the Seaway is the only viable option.
Most people could accept the Government saying no to a casino proposal for The Spit.
But to rule out a cruise-ship terminal for the northern end of The Spit once again demonstrates that it's the loony Left running the show within the Labor Party.
This is a government that trumpets its tourism credentials and spends millions of dollars bringing major events to the Gold Coast such as the V8s, Magic Millions and the Logies.
Yet when presented with an opportunity to bring cruise ships - the fastest-growing tourism sector on the planet - to the Gold Coast they go weak at the knees.
The Gold Coast will never get ahead while politicians treat The Spit like the Vatican.
It's an eyesore and a haven for perverts.
At a time when Gold Coast tourism is under the pump after the Dreamworld tragedy, building a cruise-ship terminal at The Spit must be the city's No.1 priority.
No wonder Labor struggles to win seats on the Gold Coast. Their lack of vision and ability to attract new tourism product for the country's sixth-largest city is alarming.
INSURERS URGED TO REVIEW SCAM
ASSISTANT Treasurer Stuart Robert has written to three insurance companies urging them to exercise discretion and give four Queenslanders involved in a tow-truck theft scam a break.
Last week in this column, details emerged of how three big insurers were about to sell off four tow trucks that had been stolen and re-sold to four unsuspecting Queenslanders.
If the insurers went ahead, it would send these people broke, all for less than $20,000. We'll keep you posted on the response from the insurers.
CUP OUTFITS ARE ALL THE GO
BRISBANE'S "queen of fashion'' Paula Acheson reports that sales of Melbourne Cup outfits are bigger this year than in the 30-plus years she has conducted Paddington's fabulous frock factory, Petrol Boutique.
Threats of strike action were water off a duck's back for women wanting to dress up.
The hot trend this year?
"This year's trend is for strong pink and red, with hats making a comeback,'' she said.