Appointments to Victoria’s peak tribunal and the establishment of new appeals boards for harness and greyhound racing have boosted the racing industry’s integrity, Victorian Acting Premier and Minister for Racing Rob Hulls said on Thursday.
A current County Court Judge and two former judges have been appointed to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to hear racing appeals in line with the Racing Legislation Amendment (Racing Integrity Assurance) Act 2009.
“This marks a new era for Victoria’s racing industry and means we have now addressed all 63 recommendations in Judge Gordon Lewis’s 2008 report into integrity assurance,” Mr Hulls said.
Mr Hulls said the legislation created new Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) boards for Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV), abolished the Racing Appeals Tribunal and transferred responsibility for hearing racing appeals to VCAT.
He announced Judge John Nixon, Roland Williams and Frank Dyett as the new VCAT appointees to hear racing related appeals and said they were all exceptionally qualified for their roles with vast legal experience, including having sat on the former Racing Appeals Tribunal.
“Judge Nixon is currently an Acting Judge of the County Court and was a County Court Judge from 1981 to 2007, before which he practised as a barrister for 22 years,” Mr Hulls said.
“Mr Williams was a County Court Judge from 1994 to 2008 and practised as a barrister for 25 years, while Mr Dyett was a County Court Judge from 1978 to 2005, and a barrister from 1958 to 1978.”
Mr Hulls also announced appointments to GRV and HRV’s newly established RAD boards, which will hear and determine appeals against racing stewards’ charges and penalties laid in relation to serious matters.
He announced former GRV board member John Wardle as chair and Terry O’Connor as deputy chair of GRV’s RAD board for three years.
“Both Mr Wardle and Mr O’Connor have illustrious legal careers that qualify them for these roles,” Mr Hulls said.
He also announced Brian Collis QC as chairman of HRV’s RAD board and Anthony Burns as deputy chairman for three years.
“Mr Collis is a barrister who has held a number of positions on sports boards and tribunals, including the Australian Football League Appeal Board, while Mr Burns has a legal background and has been on the Harness Racing Appeals Board,” Mr Hulls said.
“The appointment of these seven outstanding candidates from the legal fraternity is another example of our desire to make Victoria’s racing industry not only the best on the track, but the best off the track too.”