The Palaszczuk Government will set up a Racing Appeals Panel within the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) and stays of certain decisions will not be permitted, following a review of the Queensland Racing Integrity Act.
Announcing the commitment to the racing industry, Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the review found opportunities for a range of reforms, including how some decisions made by racing stewards were subsequently dealt with.
“The review of the Act identified concerns with the internal review model used to examine original decisions by racing stewards,” he said.
“At the moment, the internal review is done by a single officer, and the establishment of a Racing Appeals Panel will provide a broader degree of independence and expertise.”
Mr Hinchliffe said the Panel would be appointed in 2021 and, if required, could call on external experts from the racing industry.
“Stakeholders also expressed serious concerns that stays of decisions granted by Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal represent a loophole that allows industry participants to continue operating pending a review, despite allegations of serious and/or repeated breaches of the Rules of Racing,” he said.
“Applications for stays of certain decisions will not be permitted if they relate to human or animal welfare, serious animal cruelty offences, the integrity of the racing industry, or serious repeated breaches.
“I believe not permitting stays for certain offences will go a long way to address the legitimate concerns industry holds about a small number of participants gaming the system and putting the integrity of the whole racing industry under question.”
QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett welcomed the news of the commitment to establish the Panel.
“Any changes to the appeals model that improves Industry confidence in our decision making is a good thing,” he said.
“The Commission’s task to strengthen integrity in the industry is made easier with broad Industry support and it is important that our decision making on discipline issues is seen to be fair and transparent.”
The specific breaches for which applications for stays will not be permitted will be identified in consultation with key stakeholders and implemented through legislative amendments.
The establishment of the Panel builds on the Palaszczuk Government’s significant support for Queensland’s racing industry, including:
- Establishing QRIC in 2016.
- Committing to the $39 million Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre.
- Delivery of the $70.4 million Country Racing Package.