ATA Victorian Branch – Members Update / Victoria / 30 Jun, 2009

MERGERS AND RATIONALISATION - INEVITABLE

The active revival of the mergers debate, prompted by the Ernst and Young report into a possible AJC / STC merger in NSW, has placed the focus squarely on the much anticipated Maxsted Report commissioned by the three Victorian metropolitan clubs, and which will more than likely have been released when this edition of Inside Racing goes to print.

The ATA view on this issue has not changed since industry stakeholders and shareholders were called together by RVL several years ago to discuss, among other things, how the industry could be streamlined to deliver savings that in return could provide valuable extra funding for Victorian racing.

The ATA strongly advocated resource sharing, a rationalisation of the administration of racing and the merging of many of the functions to introduce efficiencies, eliminate duplication and deliver a structure of governance and administration attuned to successful modern commercial and business practices.

In light of the merger of the two metropolitan race clubs in Brisbane, and the inevitability of some form of rationalisation of the two metropolitan race clubs in NSW, there is a similar inevitability that the three metropolitan race clubs structure in Victoria must and will change.

It is always a far better option to address these issues from within the industry and achieve an outcome that can be supported by all participants, than have a structure of governance and administration forced upon the racing industry by a team of bureaucrats or consultants who may not fully understand how the racing industry operates, or worse still, are driven by a political agenda.

COMPULSORY TRIALS

After extensive consideration on the subject, the ATA Victorian Branch reaffirmed its strong opposition to the proposal to introduce compulsory trials for unraced horses in Victoria. It also examined in detail an RVL proposal for new requirements for unraced horses in Victoria.

The Committee resolved that the main issues of Unruly Horses and the accompanying safety concerns raised in the RVL proposal could be effectively and satisfactorily addressed within the present rules (LR 50) relating to the issuing of barrier certificates for horses prior to racing, making the changes proposed by the new requirements unnecessary.

The ATA also pointed out that the proposed new requirements would create another process of unnecessary and avoidable administrative overload for trainers and for RVL.

Further, in the absence of any definitive information relating to any possible positive impact on turnover through comparisons with NSW or through any other qualitative analysis, there were no compelling reasons to support the RVL proposed changes.

Following the ATA Committee Meeting and our formal response to RVL reaffirming our opposition to the introduction of compulsory trials for unraced horses, RVL has provided the ATA with a revised recommendation which will be presented to the RVL Board for its approval.

The revised recommendation represents a substantial shift and watering down from what was originally proposed and is a direct result of the strong arguments put forward by the ATA in opposing the across the board compulsory trialing of all unraced horses through the existing system of organised trials.

The cost factor has also been acknowledged with the role of jumpouts at all training centres elevated to accommodate the issuing of barrier certificates.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS

Following the ATA’s push for the introduction of a dedicated RVL resource to assist the ATA in dealing with and resolving matters relating to debt recovery and disputes, newly appointed Industry Liaison Manager, Rob Montgomery, has reported that about 50 per cent of cases reported to him over the past three months have been resolved.

Members are reminded that disputes with owners and in particular those relating to the common problem of unpaid debts should be taken up with Rob Montgomery who is located within RVL’s Integrity Services.