INFORMATION BULLETIN – COVID-19 National Member Update / 22 May 2020

Important ATA Update

Dear Member,

Over recent weeks the racing industry in Tasmania has been shut down by Government decree in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has been a testing time for our trainers in Tasmania, and the ATA has been at the forefront of efforts to reinstate racing. Our State President Nigel Schuuring has participated in many meetings and teleconferences, and had constant dialogue with Government and a number of the key racing authorities (Tasracing and the Race Clubs included). Nigel’s contributions were seen as informative and highly constructive, and as such, well regarded by these parties.

Our Non-Executive Chairman Merv Hill has also been central to this exercise, working with Nigel to present our return to racing proposition through Tasracing to Government, and more recently, to senior Health and WorkSafe officials. A number of trainers were also called on to assist during online meetings organized by the Minister for Racing, and we thank them sincerely for their contribution.

Lastly, but no means least, Racing Australia through their Chairman Greg Nichols, has made significant efforts both directly and through assistance from Racing Australia’s professional lobbyists, to support our efforts with Government for a return to racing, always in consultation with ATA.

As a result, we are pleased trials were approved to recommence 18 May, in preparation for the return to racing on 13 June. All activities will of course be subject to the general community safety protocols that apply, but it is further pleasing to note that some significant individual operational requirements – including regional zoning and associated travel restrictions - have now been lifted.

During this whole exercise, the decision making in Tasmania was almost exclusively based on advice from the Department of Public Health. Ultimately, the ATA, played an integral role in gaining first, Government support, and ultimately, the support from senior Health officials on a return to racing program.

It is at times like this when a strong and respected voice from a peak body is essential. The ATA had credible and authoritative representation, were able to clearly present the trainers’ case and importantly, win the confidence of the health officials. Perhaps this is best embodied by the following, being an extract from a message sent by the head of the Department of Public Health to our Chairman recently:

‘Thank you Merv….. I wish you and the industry well for a safe resumption of racing activity. If there is anything further I can do to help, please do not hesitate to contact me.’

“Whilst our Health efforts have unfortunately had significant economic impacts on several sectors- we continue to have the best interests of the state’s population in mind and we appreciate your efforts and that of the industry to work together with Health on this.”

While it is pleasing that trainers in Tasmania are back at the trials and will soon be racing, our work is far from done as we now face the effects of the shutdown and the ongoing effects of the pandemic on all racing operations nationally.

The ATA will continue to vigorously support our membership and we ask for your continued support of the ATA and your elected officials as we go forward into these testing times.

Should you wish to provide your feedback in writing in relation to these matters, please do so by clicking here.

Alternatively, contact the office on (03) 9372-1688 should any one wish to discuss this with myself.

Kind Regards

Andrew Nicholl
Chief Executive Officer