Rac­ing codes need sta­bil­ity

Coun­cil­lor wants bill to pro­tect jobs

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Ali Kuchel [email protected]­ton­star.com.au

WITH the Som­er­set re­gion home to train­ers across all rac­ing dis­ci­plines, Som­er­set re­gional coun­cil­lor Bob Whal­ley wants to see clearer di­rec­tion for the codes, to pro­tect lo­cal jobs.

With a strong back­ground in rac­ing, Cr Whal­ley said com­bin­ing the three codes would have a se­ri­ous im­pact on the re­gion.

A “lack of merit” in the Rac­ing In­tegrity Bill could re­sult in sig­nif­i­cant im­pli­ca­tions to the grey­hound, thor­ough­bred and har­ness rac­ing in­dus­tries, ac­cord­ing to the par­lia­men­tary Agri­cul­tural and En­vi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee.

The com­mit­tee has not agreed to pass the bill, which aims to bring the three bod­ies un­der one ban­ner.

“This (the Bill) shouldn’t be used as a po­lit­i­cal football, it doesn’t ben­e­fit any­one,” Cr Whal­ley said.

“You don’t put the NRL, soc­cer and AFL un­der the same gov­ern­ing body, so why would you group these three com­pet­ing in­ter­ests.”

He said it wouldn’t just im­pact train­ers and own­ers, but other peo­ple in the in­dus­try such as far­ri­ers, pro­duce grow­ers and feed mer­chants.

“Rac­ing is the third or fourth largest in­dus­try in Queens­land, it has a mas­sive em­ploy­ment sec­tor,” Cr Whal­ley said.

He said ide­ally, each rac­ing code would have its own gov­ern­ing body made up of a board with ex­ten­sive un­der­stand­ing about their par­tic­u­lar code.

The Bill con­tains 15 rec­om­men­da­tions which are de­signed to en­sure the fu­ture in­tegrity of Queens­land’s grey­hound rac­ing, along with merg­ing the three codes.

But the com­mit­tee found the Depart­ment of Na­tional Parks, Sport and Rac­ing didn’t con­sult with in­dus­try stake­hold­ers or the pub­lic in re­la­tion to the bill.

Their re­port stated as a re­sult, turf clubs, an­i­mal own­ers, jock­eys, breed­ers, train­ers, and the bod­ies rep­re­sent­ing them were ex­cluded from the bill’s devel­op­ment.

Fur­ther­more, the com­mit­tee found the bill fo­cused on grey­hound rac­ing, not the en­tire Queens­land rac­ing in­dus­try.

Hav­ing been around har­ness rac­ing his whole life, Glam­or­gan Vale trainer John McMullen said the three codes had been merged be­fore, which wasn’t suc­cess­ful.

“The ideal thing would be if we went back to hav­ing our own boards,” he said.

PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

SE­RI­OUS IM­PACT: Som­er­set’s Cr Bob Whal­ley and har­ness rac­ing trainer John McMullen dis­cuss the rac­ing in­tegrity bill.

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