Wallis a casualty of State racing?s revamp

By TONY McMAHON ? QUEENSLAND'S longest serving racing steward, Rockhampton's John Wallis, had his career effectively ended yesterday when made redundant by Queensland Racing.

Along with his wife Merrilyn, who was the administration officer at Queensland Racing's Callaghan Park racecourse office, the couple has agreed to continue on in their roles until January 20, 2006.

The announcement followed weeks of speculation in racing circles as Queensland Racing goes about revamping stewarding roles in Queensland.

Yesterday, Queensland Racing's integrity director Andrew Hedges and newly appointed supremo steward Reid Sanders flew into Rockhampton to announce the restructuring of the Capricornia area's stewarding mandate.

Hedges said that the future of Rockhampton's other permanent based steward Ron Doyle had not been determined.

"We are restructuring down the ranks and we will have to wait to see what unfolds in Rockhampton. One senior steward and another steward will be based in Rockhampton when the restructuring is finalised.

"The Capricornia office will not be closed. John Wallis will carry on there through the transition period until a senior steward is appointed,'' Hedges said.

Until last week the Capricornia office was manned by a personnel of four but Hedges said despite the cuts Queensland Racing was committed to ensuring services were not damaged.

"A lot of the administration work will be centralised to Brisbane,'' Hedges said.

On Tuesday a long-serving administration officer in Townsville's QR offices was made redundant.

Hedges said there would be no changes to the stewarding roles in the Toowoomba office where no staff had been made redundant.

He refuted this contradicted Queensland Racing's policy of consistency.

"Paul Brennan from our office (Brisbane) surveyed both the Rockhampton and Toowoomba staffing levels. There is no inconsistency on our part as Toowoomba has a higher workload thanRockhampton,'' Hedges said.

It was reported on Tuesday that Queensland Racing's Brisbanebased chief investigator Wayne Wood had also accepted a redundancy package, but Wood could not be contacted late last night.

Meanwhile, Queensland Racing acted honourably yesterday when funding the division of the Rockhampton Jockey Club's Maiden Handicap, ensuring tomorrow's race card consists of a mammoth nine-race program.

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