ATA Victorian Branch – Members Update

ROBBIE GRIFFITHS TAKES OVER AS VICTORIAN PRESIDENT
After a distinguished term spanning twenty years as President of the Victorian ATA, Colin Alderson has decided to step down and hand over the reins to Committeeman Robbie Griffiths, who was elected unopposed at the recent Committee meeting on October 7.
Colin Alderson has agreed to remain on the Victorian Branch Committee and will also continue as Federal President of the ATA. Robert Smerdon continues as Vice President in Victoria and Fran Houlahan is Secretary of the Branch. Other Committee members include Pat Carey and Troy Corstens.
The Committee formally expressed their appreciation for the work, efforts and contribution made by Colin Alderson over a long period of time.

OWNER TRAINER SECURITY MODEL
At its most recent meeting in September, the ARB approved the adoption of the Owner/Trainer Security Model, initiated by the ATA in conjunction with TROA and the support of Racing Victoria and Racing NSW.  The ARB will now proceed to discuss and finalise an Implementation process with RISA and the PRA’s prior to an Implementation Plan being presented for approval to the full Board scheduled in December, with a planned commencement date around the start of the new racing season.
Importantly Racing Victoria have confirmed there will be no costs to Trainers, who will be able to trigger, at their discretion, an activation of security for unpaid owners debts. More details of the Model will be provided to Trainers in due course.

NATIONAL TRAINERS TRUST
ATA Chief Executive John Alducci will shortly announce the establishment of a National Trainers Trust to provide assistance for Trainers and their families in serious necessitous circumstances, where caused through serious injury, serious illness or the death of a Trainer.
ATA legal advisors, Ryan Carlisle Thomas, have assisted in the legislative and regulatory aspects of the Trust.

TRAINERS WELLBEING PROGRAM
The Trainer Wellbeing Program initiated by the ATA and with the support of RV and Beyondblue was launched in Victoria with well attended workshops conducted by Beyondblue and featuring John Sadler and Lee Freedman, at Cranbourne, Bendigo and Ballarat.
Beyondblue will provide a review and debrief as well as a program for on-going support for Trainers, their families and staff, which will then be presented to RV for consideration.

TRACK PREPARATION AND RATINGS
Whilst acknowledging the difficulty of achieving a consensus on Policy and Preparation across the industry and the Training profession, the ATA has reiterated the necessity for accurate track ratings to RV, emphasising also that the RV Track Preparation Policy requires a Track to be prepared and able to race as a Good 3 for the majority of the program and ideally with a good cover of grass. RV has also sought feedback from Trainers on the proposed changes to the Late Scratching Policy to coincide with the introduction of the new Track Descriptors on December 1.

INDUSTRY FEES AND CHARGES
RV has agreed to an ATA proposal to conduct a Review into Industry fees and charges relating to Training with a reduction in the number of transactions between RV and Trainers. A pilot program at Cranbourne has been proposed by RV, where a fee from prize money earned by Cranbourne trained horses will be rebated by RV to the Cranbourne Turf Club in lieu of Industry fees and charges associated with training (e.g. facilities fees).

ARB ORGANISATIONAL CHANGES
Following the joint acquisition of the Australian Stud Book by the ARB and RISA, the three organisations – the ARB, RISA and the Australian Stud Book have been merged to form Racing Australia.
The new Racing Australia Board of Directors will comprise one Director each from the five largest Australian State PRA’s – Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, with Tasmania, the ACT and Northern Territory Bodies providing a director on a rotational basis.
Victoria and NSW PRA’s will have  majority control with 35% each and veto rights. It is expected that the new entity will commence operations in March 2015.

RV BOARD CHANGES
There were 43 nominations for the three vacancies on the RV Board which occur at the end of the year. Following interviews and assessments, the RV Nominations Sub-Committee nominated Rob Roulston, Pearse Morgan and Mohan Jesudhason, who will be elected unopposed at the RV Annual general meeting next week.
Rob Roulston and Pearse Morgan nominated for another term, while Mohan Jesudhason a businessman with racing experience during his employment as an executive of Tabcorp, was nominated by the metropolitan race clubs. Peter Sinn who was eligible to re-nominate chose to retire from the RV Board.

TRACK RIDER SHORTAGE
The ATA has continued to explore options to recruit overseas track riders through the State and Federal Government with the assistance of RV to alleviate the continuing shortage of track riders, along with flexibility within the Federal Immigration Act to enable Track Riders to extend their visas to remain in Australia. RV has informed the ATA that the option of sponsoring overseas Track Riders, in RV’s capacity as the Governing Body, for fixed term contracted employment with stables, as specified under the Immigration Act, is being examined with the Federal Immigration Department.