Integrity assurance in the Victorian racing industry will be strengthened through a Racing Integrity Commissioner and changes to the appeals and disciplinary processes in legislation to be introduced to Parliament today.
Deputy Premier and Racing Minister Rob Hulls said the Brumby Labor Government was taking action to ensure public confidence in the future of Victoria’s world-class racing industry.
The Racing Legislation Amendment (Racing Integrity Assurance) Bill 2009 will establish a Racing Integrity Commissioner, set up a new appeals and disciplinary structure for the racing industry, and repeal the ban on the transmission of betting odds from racecourses.
“Integrity assurance is top of the list for both the racing industry and the Government and these measures will ensure more comprehensive, independent and consistent integrity assurance systems and processes across the racing industry,” Mr Hulls said.
“The Racing Integrity Commissioner will monitor integrity assurance in the racing industry, provide advice, and ensure that information can be exchanged between racing industry controlling bodies, Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police, the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation and other agencies.”
The proposed new legislation follows the Government-commissioned Lewis Report on Integrity Assurance in the Victorian Racing Industry completed by Judge Gordon Lewis.
A joint Government and Victorian racing industry working party has since considered the recommendations and advised on their implementation.
“A successful racing industry is founded primarily on the strength of its integrity assurance,” Mr Hulls said.
“Judge Lewis highlighted in his report that Victoria is acknowledged as being the leader of the national racing industry, including with its integrity assurance systems and processes. However, as I have said in the past – we can always do it better.”
The Racing Legislation Amendment (Racing Integrity Assurance) Bill 2009 will amend the Racing Act 1958 (Racing Act) and the Gambling Regulation Act 2003.
Separate independent appeals and disciplinary boards will be established for Greyhound Racing Victoria and Harness Racing Victoria, based on Racing Victoria Limited’s Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board.
Mr Hulls said the boards would be administered by a common Registrar to ensure procedural consistency. This structure will be reviewed by the Racing Integrity Commissioner after 12 months.
Also consistent with Judge Lewis’s recommendations, the Racing Appeals Tribunal, which hears appeals of decisions from the existing disciplinary bodies, will be abolished and its jurisdiction transferred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.