Government contempt for racing revealed

Tasmanian Labor

· Racing industry shut down without notice

· Jane Howlett fails the racing industry

· Industry foots the bill for its own support package

Evidence given at a parliamentary hearing today demonstrates the contempt with which the Tasmanian government has treated the racing industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Shadow Minister for Racing David O’Byrne said that’s despite the industry taking all steps to keep racing going in a COVID-safe way.

“The Public Accounts Committee inquiry into COVID-19 heard today that Tas Racing was only advised of the government’s decision to shut down the industry on the day of the announcement.

“We understand that it was a fluid situation and decision making had to be rapid.

“But the lack of notice is hard to understand given the government and the industry had been in regular communication in the weeks leading up to the decision. There’d been no prior indication during any of those discussions that a shutdown was on the cards, and Tasmania’s was the only racing industry in the nation to be shut down.

“How hard would it have been for Jane Howlett to take responsibility for the decision and inform the industry directly? It demonstrates a lack of respect.”

Mr O’Byrne said the industry had been hit with a double whammy in having to fund its own recovery package.

“Despite talking up a support package for the racing industry, government has failed to foot the bill. The package was funded by Tas Racing from existing stakes money.

“It’s a continuing demonstration of the complete contempt this government has for an industry that employs Tasmanians and supports communities across the state.”

David O’Byrne

Shadow Minister for Racing

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