One Stop NSW Stewards Shop Seems Inevitable

On the back of the NSW Racing Minister's moves last Thursday to release two racing reviews for public comment, the move toward a tri-code approach to stewarding in NSW seems a done deal.

Both reviews of the racing industry, one by Barrister Malcolm Scott and the other the five review by the Office of Liquor and Gaming; reccomended “a tri-code approach to ” which will see stewarding for all codes conducted from one office and presumably stewards required to perform their duties across all codes.

Further to that recomendations have been made which will “de-power” NSW stewards and empower the Racing Apeals Tribunal and newly created investigation, prosectution and judgement positions; which in itself makes a sound argument so that the stewards are not in a position to be “Judge, and Executioner”.

However, in today's current climate of and gambling change, that question has to be asked, Where will the money come from to pay for this regulatory reform and can the industry afford not to make the changes?

The full announcement follows below :

Two reviews recommending significant structural changes to the and regulation of the NSW racing industry have been released for public comment, Racing Minister Graham West announced today.

Mr West said the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing report, Five Year Review of the Greyhound Racing Act 2002 and Harness Racing Act 2002, and the report by barrister Malcolm Scott, Independent Review of the Regulatory Oversight of the NSW Racing Industry, have been tabled in Parliament and released for public comment.

“These two reviews recommend major changes to the way all three codes of racing are regulated, as well as the commercial oversight of the greyhound and harness racing industries,” Mr West said.

“The reports will now be placed on public exhibition for six weeks to allow industry participants, punters and members of the public to comment.

“OLGR carried out statutory five-year reviews of the Greyhound Racing Act 2002 and Harness Racing Act 2002. These Acts introduced significant reform to governance arrangements for the greyhound and harness racing industries and this review assesses their effectiveness after five years in operation.

“I commissioned Mr Scott to undertake his review to examine if there are adequate powers and procedures in place for the effective and efficient regulatory oversight of the three codes of racing. This was in line with a recommendation by Ken Brown in his review of the Thoroughbred Racing Act 1996.”

The Five Year Review of the Greyhound Racing Act 2002 and Harness Racing Act 2002 makes the following recommendations:
• Independent five-member Boards for Greyhound () and Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW), with Board members selected on merit;
• Each code of racing will have a single body responsible for the commercial and regulatory functions;
• A tri-code approach to stewards; and
• Improved consultation, corporate planning and reporting requirements.

The Independent Review of the Regulatory Oversight of the NSW Racing Industry makes 13 recommendations including:
• Ban all senior racing officials from betting on racing;
• A new racing and disciplinary appeal structure to replace the existing model in which stewards are the ‘investigator, and judge';
• Expand the functions and operations of the to address concerns about the behaviour of unlicensed persons impacting on the racing industry;
• Disband the Greyhound and Harness Racing Regulatory Authority (GHRRA) and transfer its non-stewarding functions to GRNSW and HRNSW in accordance with the Scott recommendations;
• A tri-code approach to stewards managed by the three codes of racing;
• Improved training and accreditation for stewards;
• Disband the ‘in-house' Racing NSW Appeals Panel; and
• Create a new offence to prohibit spectators invading racecourses, with a maximum penalty of $11,000 and/or a period of imprisonment.

“I encourage all interested parties to take this opportunity to make a submission to these recommendations and help shape the future direction and structure of racing in NSW,” Mr West said.

“Submissions will guide the Government's response to these two reviews in continuing to provide a sound regulatory framework to protect the ongoing viability and of the racing industry.”

“We are establishing a working party to address transitional issues until the recommendations in the reviews are implemented. Members of the working party will be the respective Chairs of the incumbent controlling bodies or their delegates, together with a member of the department.

Submissions on both review reports can be made until 15 August 2008.

Submissions should be marked ‘Five Year Review & Malcolm Scott Review Reports' and forwarded to John Braddock, NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing, GPO Box 7060, Sydney NSW 2001, or sent by email to [email protected].

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