New Age Dawns For Tasmanian Greyhound Racing……..We Hope!

As reported here back in September and then again in November, the Tasmanian racing industry is about to undergo some major changes to its management.

The three racing councils that govern thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing are to be abolished and replaced by two new governing boards.

The Tasmanian Racing Board and the Integrity Assurance Board will come into effect on January 1st 2009.

Former Moonee Valley Racing Club chairman Don Abell will head up the new Tasmanian Racing Board when it takes over as the controlling body of Tasmanian Racing.

Tasmanian Racing Minister Michael Aird announced Abell’s appointment along with the the other six members of the person new administrative body.

He also announced the make up of the Integrity Assurance Board, saying both boards will be crucial to the continued success and growth of Tasmanian racing.

“This is an exciting new era for Tasmanian racing and the members of these boards will spearhead the reforms necessary for the industry to grow and flourish in a very competitive environment,” Aird said.

“The chairman of the seven-member Tasmanian Racing Board will be prominent racing identity and former chairman of the Moonee Valley Racing Club Don Abell.

“Mr Abell has built a national reputation as a racing administrator and is a partner at KPMG, which is one of the world’s leading professional services firms.

The new Tasmanian Racing Board (TRB) will assume all the powers formerly vested in TOTE Tasmania in respect to the the governance and administration of the Tasmanian industry.

Aird said the three racing code councils would be abolished with their existing powers and functions transferred to the new Board.

The other members of the new TRB are Geoffrey Baxter, Sue Hickey, Trevor Leis, Thomas O’Meara. Brian Speers and Rod Thirkell-Johnston, the former chairman of the Tasmanian Thoroughbred Racing Council.

Aird announced that Tasmanian barrister and solicitor Dean Cooper will be the new chairman of the Integrity Assurance Board.

Aird said the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing regulatory panels will be abolished and their existing powers and functions will be transferred to the TRB and the Director of Racing.

“In performing its functions as an independent statutory authority, the Integrity Assurance Board will deliver better checks and balances in the regulatory process as they relate to the integrity and probity of the industry,” Aird said.

Aird said that the appointment of three existing TOTE board members to the new boards will create three vacancies to be filled in the New Year.

Abell is hopeful the news boards can bring many positive changes to Tasmanian Racing, but concedes “that is not something that will necessarily happen quickly,” Mr Abell said.

“But I think it is the objective that as commercial and successful an industry that we can, I think it’s inevitable that it will change the direction of racing,” he said.

As far as we at Australian Racing Greyhound are concerned any changes coming out of Tasmania should be a positive move, as we have experienced first hand the naivety and narrow mindedness that has so far prevailed over Tasmanian Racing and more specifically Tasmanian Greyhound Racing.

There was no word from Aird as to how the new Tasmanian Racing Board would be funded, but Aird made note that “there would be no change to the present funding arrangements of the industry”.