Racing codes need stability
Councillor wants bill to protect jobs
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.
SERIOUS IMPACT: Somerset’s Cr Bob Whalley and harness racing trainer John McMullen discuss the racing integrity bill.