You may be aware of the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission’s (QRIC) proposal to introduce a number of new mandatory minimum penalties for specified rule breaches occurring in Queensland prior to year end.
This proposal, which is not supported by the ATA in its current form, was the subject of much discussion at the recent ATA QLD Branch Committee meeting. The ATA QLD Branch subsequently resolved to write to the Racing Integrity Commissioner to express their views - an extract from State President, Barry Baldwin’s letter to Mr Ross Barnett follows, expressing concerns on a number of fronts, most notably:
(a) Mandatory minimum penalties are reserved for the most serious of offences. Accordingly, their development & introduction has historically sat within the domain of our peak body - previously the ARB, now Racing Australia. This is critical in the context of achieving broad acceptance and consistency with such across the various Australia wide racing jurisdictions.
The current approach by QRIC ignores the protocols and sensitivities which surround this historic industry best practice.
(b) Should the QRIC proposal as presented be adopted into local rules, it will create a prima facie situation whereby penalties in Queensland for ‘Presentation’ e.g.: (177B(1)) and ‘Possession’ e.g.: (177B(5)) offences will carry a harsher penalty (minimum of 6 years) than that applicable to an ‘Administration with Intent to Performance Enhance’ e.g.; AR175(h)(i) offence (minimum of 3 years) in other states! This sends a very, very confusing message to participants and the public alike.
(b)(i) The proposed Penalties Standard for “Presentation” offences does not discriminate on causation. For example, an offence the result of contamination versus an unexplained cause versus an employee error under 177B(1), all three attract a 6 year penalty.
We acknowledge QRIC retain the ability to exercise powers and functions under the rules of racing which allow them to suspend a penalty where they believe it appropriate to do so. Our concern however is with the starting point of 6 years for these offences, and how this will interrelate with and/or influence QRIC when choosing to exercise this discretion.
The Australian Rules of Racing operate without mandatory minimum penalties for a “Presentation” breach. This allows each respective state disciplinary board to assess a case on its merits & apply a considered penalty.
Given the variables associated with a “Presentation” breach, the ATA view is the current practice remains the most appropriate, and particularly so in the interests of being fair to all parties.
(c) Should QRIC introduce their Penalties Standard regime as proposed, this will segregate Queensland from the rest of Australia, and do harm to the racing industry in this state. Queensland can ill afford this after much instability and negative publicity over the last two years.
The ATA Federal Office has also written to Racing Australia strongly urging them to engage with QRIC, with a view to having their proposed Penalties Standards deferred indefinitely. The appropriate forum to discuss these style changes is at RA Board level via the Chairmen of Stewards Committee. QRIC should be encouraged to table their submission and openly debate the pros and cons of their proposal in this forum, rather than search for an individual state solution.
We will keep Queensland Members updated on this important issue as discussions unfold.
Should you wish to provide your feedback in writing in relation to this matter, please do so by CLICKING HERE
Alternatively, contact the office on (03) 9372-1688 should any one wish to discuss this matter with myself.