Albion Park Harness Club boss Scott Steele has been stood down from his role, following a stand-off with Queensland Racing Minister Grace Grace, after the CEO was committed to stand trial on rape and sexual assault charges last month. Steele has been charged with one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault allegedly committed in 2015 and 2016 and has now been stood down on full pay. He is contesting the charges.
“I welcome the news that Albion Park Harness Racing Club have finally agreed to follow the direction issued by Racing Queensland to stand down their CEO,” the Minister said in a statement.
“I have been very clear that I thought it was completely unacceptable for Mr Steele to remain in (a) post while facing such serious charges, but as Minister, I do not have the power to stand down staff members of private racing clubs.”
The Minister also supported the withholding of general funding payments, about $600,000, that had been withheld from the club by Racing Queensland, until Steele was stood down as CEO. Albion Park Harness Club is believed to be looking for an acting chief executive.
“It’s disappointing it took this long – the first direction from RQ was issued to the club in September 2021 – but I am glad the right thing is happening now,” the Minister said.
Steele took over the reins at Queensland’s harness racing headquarters in 2020, having worked at the Redcliffe Leagues Clubs as well as clubs in Cairns, Mackay and Arana Hills.
He was appointed Operations Manager at both Doomben and Eagle Farm Racecourses in 2012.