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Coalition acts to strengthen racing integrity

Tuesday, 29 October 2013
The Victorian racing industry, a critical part of the state's economy, will be further strengthened with the introduction of legislation implementing key recommendations of the Racing Integrity Commissioner.
 
Premier and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine today announced that legislation introduced into State Parliament this week would amend the Racing Act 1958 to:  
  • provide the Racing Integrity Commissioner with the power to compel witnesses to appear before inquiries and hand over evidence;
  • make it clear that Racing Victoria has the power to apply the Rules of Racing to non-licenced persons; and
  • require that the Rules of Racing Victoria include specific provisions to ensure that persons appearing before the Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board are afforded procedural fairness. 
 
Dr Napthine said the legislative enhancements mean the Racing Integrity Commissioner can now require racing controlling bodies, registered clubs and licensed persons in the racing industry to cooperate with investigations and inquiries.
 
“Victoria has the best racing in Australia but there is always a need to keep ahead of the game and maintain strong safeguards against corruption,” Dr Napthine said. 
 
“Racing is a vital economic contributor to the state of Victoria, especially in rural and regional areas, and ensuring it remains corruption-free is essential to the $2 billion industry’s ongoing strength.
 
“These reforms significantly strengthen the Racing Integrity Commissioner’s powers and will ensure the integrity of Victoria’s racing industry as a whole.
 
“These changes, which were recommended in the Own Motion Inquiry into Race Fixing in Victoria and the Final Report on the Investigation of the ‘Damien Oliver Inquiry’ by Racing Victoria Limited, mean the Racing Integrity Commissioner has the necessary tools to conduct his investigations and provide effective oversight of the sector.”
 
The statutory office of Racing Integrity Commissioner was established to provide independent oversight of integrity issues across Victoria’s three racing codes – thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds. The current commissioner is Sal Perna.
 
Dr Napthine said the legislative changes will also remove any doubt that Racing Victoria has the power to apply the rules of racing to non-licensed persons similar to the powers exercised by other Victorian racing controlling bodies.
 
“All people participating in racing whether licensed or non-licensed will now need to adhere to rules of racing or otherwise be subject to penalties such as exclusion from racing,” Dr Napthine said.
 
“These new legislative amendments will also ensure that people appearing before the Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board are afforded procedural fairness and natural justice.”
 
Dr Napthine said further reforms relating to the three racing codes bodies’ governance of integrity services were expected to be finalised within coming months. These reforms also originate from recommendations of the Racing Integrity Commissioner.
 
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