Letters to the editor

GREAT NORTH-WEST: We have some of the best sunsets in the business in our region such as this one captured at Julia Creek. Photo: Derek Barry
GREAT NORTH-WEST: We have some of the best sunsets in the business in our region such as this one captured at Julia Creek. Photo: Derek Barry

Maxwelton raises major questions

The Saturday April 1 2017 Maxwelton race date was transferred to Mount Isa after unusual scrutiny by Racing Queensland Stewards on Friday March 31 and the morning of April 1.

This was while track preparation was still being completed, a task that could have been completed as late as an hour before scheduled race start times.

This has been the case in any unusual weather or circumstances that might lead to corrective finishing of the track surface.

Black soil tracks, and any bush tracks for that matter, can have particular character traits that reflect the local country the tracks are built on.

Some have hills and hollows, off camber turns and some sand.

Some black soils have light top surface and hard base.

This adds to the challenges of racing.

Bush tracks are not the pampered, watered and costly running surfaces that some may run on in other areas of the state.

The idea that bush tracks have safety issues is unrealistic.

Some common sense and experience at a local level by clubs, committee and stewards is often required in regards to surface conditions.

Our districts stewards have always proven to be professional and reasonable to liaise with in matters arising with bush tracks and country racing.

I would hope that this congenial approach is to continue and our long-standing committee members and volunteers on race day are treated with respect, and communication about issues is telegraphed in the correct manner.

“But” I fear for the officials and committee alike if it is to emerge that bush racing and once a year meets are to be isolated and abolished due to unrealistic safety standards on infrastructure and track standards, while not allowing for the realities of the local soil types and budget capabilities of bush racing clubs.

Is it that our state’s racing agenda is once again going to be at the demise of once a year meets and loss of race days in general across our bush communities.

Safety is always the number one concern for riders and horses, but a common sense and not a one size must fit all approach is required.

All bush clubs should take the event at Maxwelton very seriously and determine what the surface standards are that Queensland Racing is looking for?

David Fox

President, Richmond Turf Club

NAPLAN IT bungle

Queenslanders all remember the health payroll debacle from the Bligh Government – a project described as the worst public administration bungle in national history.

Well Annastacia Palaszczuk’s current Labor mob aren’t much better when it comes to delivering IT projects.

Labor’s part-time Education Minister Kate Jones promised last year that 100 schools would do NAPLAN online in 2017, as part of a national agenda.

She espoused the virtues of NAPLAN online as it would ‘transform the way results can be used by schools, reduce the time between testing and reporting and broaden the curriculum range of assessments’.

The only problem is that Kate Jones bungled the rollout of the project.

This is an IT project that started on her watch in 2015 and whose budget has been slashed by $11.5 million.

Is it any wonder that only 6% of the total project has been completed?

Now the timeline for moving to NAPLAN online has been delayed.

Kate Jones has been caught out by her own incompetence and now Queensland school kids and their parents will pay the price.

Tarnya Smith

LNP Shadow Minister for Science, Innovation and the Digital Economy