The Liberal government must commit to a date to reopen Tasmania’s racing industry or risk further undermining its future sustainability.
Shadow Racing Minister David O’Byrne said the industry is on its knees as the ban on race meetings takes its toll.
“The shutdown of the racing industry on 2 April came despite the industry itself banning crowds and enforcing nation-leading social distancing restrictions at training facilities and race tracks,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“No other state or territory has taken this drastic step.
“Now the industry is facing job losses, and jockeys, trainers and animals are moving to the mainland.
“This is an industry that supports jobs in rural and regional communities, injecting around $103 million a year into the Tasmanian economy. More than 5,000 Tasmanians are either employed or are participants in the industry.
“There is no question that the industry supports measures taken to protect the public, and has worked very hard to address issues of concern such as intrastate travel.
“A proposal put to the government would restrict race meetings to Elwick and Mowbray only, with strict transport and on-track protocols and the most stringent social distancing measures.
“This proposed method of operation is superior to those in other states and, indeed other industries like the retail industry. But, while the racing industry is at a standstill, places like Bunnings and Kmart remain open for business.
“The industry desperately needs a date to work towards for a recommencement of race meets, and with this proposal, the government has a clear pathway to reopen.
“If we are to retain a viable racing industry in Tasmania, the government must commit to a recommencement date consistent with the industry proposal.”
David O’Byrne MP
Shadow Minister for Racing