Bob Bentley’s controversial reign as chairman of Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) is all but over.
Bentley and fellow RQL board members Bill Ludwig and Tony Hanmer announced their intentions to resign, effective from April 30, at a board meeting of Queensland racing’s governing body on Tuesday.
Bentley, who is deputy chairman of the Australian Racing Board, also plans to quit his role with that body.
Their resignations will only take effect if a transitional plan devised by RQL is implemented by the Campbell Newman-led LNP government.
The transitional plan requires the Queensland government to enable RQL and the current directors to properly discharge their statutory duties and responsibilities.
This will also allow the government to commence the implementation of its stated objective to restructure the broader racing industry in Queensland.
“The LNP policy is to change the structure of Racing Queensland,” Bentley said before tendering his resignation.
“The most sensible way through all this is to work out a transitional plan so they (the government) can achieve what they want.
“We’re happy to negotiate with the government.”
Bentley said the pressure of running racing in Queensland was enormous but he enjoyed his time at the helm.
“It’s been a difficult job but I’ve enjoyed it immensely except for the controversy,” Bentley said.
“Our time is up as the government has a different direction and they’re entitled to it.
“If we had walked away the day after the elections it would have been illegal under the corporations law.
“We had a directors’ duty to fulfil and couldn’t just leave.”
Bentley has been Queensland racing’s supremo for the past 10 years during the reign of the former ALP Queensland government.
During his time in power, Bentley never faced an election from within the racing industry and was a controversial figure whose grand plans included shutting down the Eagle Farm racing precinct and building a new racing site at Wacol, west of Brisbane.
He also wanted to move the Gold Coast Turf Club to a new site at Palm Meadows and incurred the wrath of racing clubs for wanting a partnership role with some clubs.
Bentley refused to comment on the controversial payout figures to four key RQL executives who resigned only days after the state election.
Chief Executive Malcolm Tuttle, director of Integrity Operations Jamie Orchard, Product Development manager Paul Brennan and corporate counsel Shara Reid are reported to have received payout figures totalling $1.7 million.
“I’ve got no comment on the resignations,” Bentley said.
“I’m comfortable with the decision the board made.”