Labor promises to fix ‘clunky’ racing appeals system
The Labor government has made an election commitment to establish a new appeals body as it sets about trying to fix Queensland's much maligned and drawn-out appeals system.
The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission's controversial Internal Review will be abolished to make way for a specialist appeals body.
It follows a call for Racing Integrity Act review submissions by Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last year on ways to improve the integrity system, which has been criticised for being too slow and having too many loopholes for participants to "play on" while a case waits to be determined by QCAT, which can take more than a year to reach an outcome.
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"A re-elected government would set up a racing appeals panel within QRIC (to) replace the internal reviewer role," Hinchliffe said.
"It will comprise a Chair and a panel of experts across the three codes and be able to be convened regularly to review any stewards' decisions.
"The other element we will progress is some changes that will close the loophole around stays being granted by QCAT.
"We will legislate so that applications for stays for certain decisions will not be permitted."
Hinchliffe, who hosted a racing industry forum yesterday with representatives from all three codes, said there is more work to be done on drafting the precise guidelines of this new rule, but it will relate to offences that include human or animal welfare, serious animal cruelty offences and serious repeated breaches of the rules.
"By not permitting those stays of certain offences it will go a long way to address the concerns the industry holds about those small number of participants gaming the system and putting the integrity of the whole industry into a situation which has been questionable," he said.
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With the integrity arm of racing separated from the commercial side four years ago, many industry participants remain frustrated that Racing Queensland and QRIC still haven't been able to complete a seamless transition.
Hinchliffe agreed "it's not perfect" but said there had been examples of the pair working together for the betterment of the industry.
"There's no denying there is still some clunkiness in the relationship (but) they have definitely improved in my time," he said.
"Off the back of the Martin inquiry (into animal cruelty), there has been some good co-operative work done.
"Further, working through the implications of the pandemic. Without the leadership and work of both and their co-operation with each other, we would not have come through as well as we have."
Hinchliffe also announced yesterday that applications for the third round of the Country Racing Program are now open.
The program provides $2.6 million per year for non-TAB thoroughbred clubs to assist with repairs, maintenance and asset replacements.
Originally published as Labor promises to fix 'clunky' racing appeals system