Racing Minister asleep at the reins

Victoria’s racing industry still faces frustrating delays in getting patrons back on course, despite New South Wales achieving it weeks ago.

Racing Minister Martin Pakula announced today that owners will be allowed back on track from next week, but added “it will not actually commence until administrators and clubs agree on the protocols”.

Without a clear plan from the Minister – or any notice to allow clubs to prepare – they won’t be ready.

The Minister should have announced dates for a smooth transition weeks ago, but he’s delayed until pressure from the racing industry and the Liberal Nationals forced him to rush out with this last minute announcement.

This failure means clubs are left scrambling to see what they can put in place and the strong likelihood remains they will not be on course on Monday.

Again we will have owners on course at Randwick on Saturday while Flemington will be a ghost course.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Racing, Tim Bull:

“Every day of delay is another day of lost income and increased pressure on the tens of thousands of racing jobs in Victoria.

Racing is one of the biggest industries in our state, contributing $3.2 billion to the economy, has around 70,000 participants and supports more than 25,000 full-time equivalent jobs – many in regional Victoria.

The entire industry is under stress and coronavirus shutdowns have added more uncertainty.

The Victorian Government needs to urgently provide the detail of its plan to help the industry recover, not make announcements on the run that catch the industry by surprise.”

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