Basic but extremely damaging mistakes were made in the lead-up to multiple race meeting cancellations late last year which Racing Minister Jane Howlett must now seriously address.
Shadow Racing Minister David O’Byrne said the cancellation of meetings at the Elwick and Mowbray tracks over November and December last year were not only costly but embarrassing for the industry with a litany of mistakes outlined today in an official report by former Chief Executive of the Victorian Racing Club Dale Monteith.
“We knew at the time that serious safety bungles were made but Mr Monteith’s report makes it clear that calls for improvements from the racing industry over a long period of time were ignored,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“We welcome the report by Mr Monteith and we welcome its thoroughness.
“But it confirms that Ms Howlett needs to be more than a bystander to the industry and get in there and ensure necessary change is made for this important industry.
“The fact that overuse of the Elwick track led to serious track damage for instance demands Ms Howlett provide answers about how that was allowed to happen at a track that had received a multi-million-dollar upgrade at taxpayer’s expense.
“There was confusion, poor practice and poor governance by both TasRacing and the Office of Racing Integrity.
“At the same time the industry’s call for improvements were ignored and resulted in the shutdown of race meetings.
“That reinforces the need for the Minister to listen to the industry’s call for a full independent inquiry.
“Minister Howlett has an opportunity now to prove she understands the industry and understands the need for change and improvement.
“Business as usual will not cut it – we need transparency on the implementation of the recommendations and clear timelines on delivery. Nothing less will satisfy the industry and the thousands of participants that rely on it for their livelihood.”
David O’Byrne MP
Shadow Minister for Racing