Racing Queensland owes the jockeys of the State of Queensland tens of millions of dollars in unpaid employer superannuation contributions.
Roughly $20 million to be precise.
The last of the series of legal battles that Queensland;s Principal Racing Authority fought to try to avoid their legal obligations to the people who make racing tick ended on the 3rd of July 2020, when the High Court of Australia refused RQ leave to appeal and threw its application into the gutter on its head, with costs.
I will explain the case in more detail later on – it’s a comedy of poor legal advice and errors – but first things first, lets get the money paid and sorted.
To get a basic picture of the pickle that Racing Queensland has placed itself firmly in, we will use some very rough but fact based maths to calculate an approximate guesstimation of the size of the due and payable debt.
There are about 11 000 races run in QLD each year, and the jockeys fee on average during the period of the non-payments is $200 a head.
That’s $2.2 million.
For the sake of ease we will call the super contribution 10 percent because its a simple number to use for the maths, and only about half a percent overs at worst.
So that’s $220 000 a year in super on the riding fees alone.
Roughly $100 million a year is paid in thoroughbred racing prizemoney.
The jockeys are entitled to 5% of it, which works out at about $5 million.
Ten percent of $5 million for the super is $500 000.
500k plus 220k = $720 000 a year.
That’s how much Racing Queensland have ripped off from the jocks each year by not paying the super contributions on their earnings that they should have been paying.
Of course on top of that there is also the super on barrier trial and trackwork riding fees, but I don’t have those numbers at hand to work out the sums. Let’s call it 60 grand, and with swings and roundabouts round the back pay bill up to $800 000 a year.
It is not quite known at the moment what the exact period of non-payment of the super has been.
The court cases have been fought over a near million dollar unpaid assessment the ATO made on a selection of jockeys between 2009 and 2019, but that was a just a test case to establish that Racing Queensland did in fact owe the money, which the superior courts have found they do.
Working off the court judgements, it is reasonable to identify the actual period of the RQ rort beginning in 2020, and running all the way up until now. That’s 20 years.
20 years x $800 000 a year = $16 million.
And we have even started calculating the compound interest that would have been earned if the super had been paid. It is going to add up to many, many millions of dollars.
The long and short of it is that Racing Queensland owe riders in this State $20 million – or more correctly, it owes the Australian Taxation Office more than $20 million which when received will be distributed to the jockeys superannuation accounts – and this money must be paid.
No ifs, no buts, the last avenue of appeal has been exhausted and RQ’s ridiculous claims thrown out of court with more than a million dollars in costs awarded in favour of the taxman.
So how are they going to pay?
Every jockey in the State and their managers and masters should be asking these questions right now.
This is your money, and you have been robbed. Wilfully and deliberately robbed, in breach of the law.
If you stole twenty bucks out of Racing Queensland’s till, they’d have you charged by the police and thrown out of racing, so why should you allow RQ to pick your pocket and not be screaming about it?
Just have a think about what happened to the Gill family, and others. The Gills not only lost the light of their lives when Desiree went down in a race fall at the end of 2013, they lost one of their bread winners too.
Her super, like everyone else’s, hadn’t been paid by Racing Queensland. If it had it would have passed on through her estate to the family, and their life as they worked their way through the darkness would have been so much easier with the buffer of that money, but instead they got nothing in the way of this super and struggled.
It’s not proper and its not right. In fact its cruel. They and the families of other brave riders that we have lost should be the very first ones repaid what their loved one was owed, and that deserve a huge apology too. Everyone in racing does, but none has been forthcoming, and neither has any money.
It’s time this was fixed.
The court says Racing Queensland must pay, so pay they must, right now without any further delay, and if it hurts the budget, well so be it.
The millions of dollars spent fighting futile cases through the courts in a hopeless attempt to justify and defend their rorts did too.
There is no racing without riders.
It’s about time the little people got put first.
Let’s do it!