industry remains on hold despite easing of other restrictions
industry closure putting jobs at risk
must be brought forward in line with other activities
The Tasmanian Liberals must explain why they continue
to hold the racing industry to a different standard than other sectors and refuse
to let them resume race meets.
Shadow Minister for Racing David O’Byrne said the government’s
failure to include racing in the early move to Stage 2 restrictions is punitive
and makes no sense.
“Labor welcomes the decision to bring forward the
easing of restrictions to this Friday,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“But the Liberals’ decision to exclude the racing
industry from the early start and make it wait until 13 June to reopen is
farcical and, even worse, it is inflicting untold damage on an industry that is
vital to Tasmania.
“Labor has been fielding complaints since Tasmania
became the only state or territory to shut down the racing industry because of COVID-19,
despite the industry taking its own steps to protect public health.
“And while the government worked with other sectors
like building and retail to help them continue operating during the COVID-19
crisis, it has treated the racing industry with contempt.
“The result has been disastrous, with horses and trainers
leaving the state, putting jobs and livelihoods at risk.
“The government had to be pushed by Labor to begin
racing trials but even when they were successfully completed two weeks ago, it refused
to budge the industry remained on hold. Now, it must wait a week longer, while
other businesses are able to start reopening and getting back on track.
“The government must explain why the racing industry
is being treated differently, when it has a COVID-ready plan including the
banning of spectators and strict social distancing measures.
“Racing employs more than 5,000 Tasmanians and
generates more than $100 million in economic activity, and every week that the
industry remains shut down risks those jobs and threatens the industry’s
To leave an already reeling industry in limbo without explanation is completely unacceptable. The industry and the thousands of Tasmanians it employs deserve much better.
David O’Byrne MP
Shadow Minister for Racing