The Palaszczuk Government will explore options to reform Queensland’s racing appeals procedures as part of a three-year review of the Racing Integrity Act.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, QRIC, had achieved much in its first three years with the potential to become even more effective with sensible reform.
“QRIC is delivering strong and effective oversight of Queensland’s racing industry across the three codes,” he said.
“The Commission has demonstrated its commitment to tackling animal cruelty, race fixing, doping and other illegal activities in the racing industry.
“It also has a strong record of community engagement, delivering great outcomes through initiatives such as the highly successful Greyhound Adoption Program.
“Equally, there is concern within industry that some the administrative and appeals mechanisms QRIC relies on aren’t as effective as they could be.
“Stakeholders are worried it’s taking too long to finalise matters that are subject to appeal and about the perceived lack of industry knowledge of the decision makers in the external review process.
“There are also concerns, which I share, that the ‘stay of proceedings’ mechanism can be used by participants as a loophole to carry on business as usual while reviews are ongoing.
“That’s why we’ve released a discussion paper on the review of the Racing Integrity Act and I’m calling on industry participants to have their say.”
The discussion paper outlines some cost-neutral options for streamlining the review process, including:
- distinct review processes for lower order penalties and higher order penalties, with appeals for lower order penalties dealt with outside the QCAT model;
- amendments to the stay application process to allow QRIC to grant stays where there is no imminent risk to integrity or animal welfare, thereby saving time and money for all parties;
- removing the option of a stay for the most serious matters, such as animal cruelty, that come before QRIC; and
- forgoing compulsory conferences in advance of QCAT hearings for matters where a participant is legally represented.
QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett said he welcomed the review and called on racing industry stakeholders to contribute to the discussion.
“I would like to invite all those involved in the racing industry to make comments about the issues associated with the new legislative regime to help the Government decide if changes are necessary and if so, how best to support the industry into the future,” Mr Barnett said.
To view the discussion paper, visit: https://www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au