Inquiry hears Bob Bentley secured insurance for protection

AN INQUIRY has heard that just nine months before leaving his job as chairman of Queensland Racing Limited, Bob Bentley was negotiating an iron-clad insurance policy so he would be protected in case of investigation.

Mr Bentley is the first of 21 witnesses due to front the Commission of Inquiry into Queensland racing, which began in Brisbane on Thursday.

The hearings will span up to four weeks, with former Queensland treasurer Andrew Fraser and current Labor Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin listed as witnesses.

During morning proceedings, Commissioner Margaret White AO watched as assisting counsel James Bell QC quizzed the former QRL chairman.

The inquiry heard Mr Bentley secured an update to "directors and officers insurance" on August 5, 2011 to ensure Racing Queensland would foot the bill for any eventual legal proceedings.

The updated insurance policy was signed on the same day Mr Bentley approved an increase to pay and conditions to four executives, which totalled more than $1.4 million.

It allowed all four to be given all their entitlements if the Labor Government lost the 2012 election.

He left the role on April 30, 2012, a month after the LNP took government.

There would be no limit on the policy - any legal bills incurred as part of facing this inquiry were to be paid by Queensland Racing.

When asked if the pay rises motivated him to sign the deed of indemnity, Mr Bentley said, "I don't think it was. We signed a fairly substantial document around that period... we wanted to make sure we were covered".

Mr Bentley said he was "under no illusions" that there would be an inquiry after the change of government.

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