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Racing – Steward Inspections

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 26 November 2020

Tags: Greyhound Racing, Office of Racing Integrity, TasRacing

Ms O'CONNOR - We are trying to get some data on the animal welfare work of the Office of Racing Integrity.

Is it possible for you to tell the committee how many unannounced steward inspections of greyhound and horse racing premises were undertaken in the past financial year? How many inspections in total. How many breaches against the act were identified? How many charges were laid? How many of them resulted in convictions?

Mr KING - I'll start with the easy one. So, inspections. It is a good news story for inspections this year, because, unfortunately, when racing was shut down, while that was terrible for the racing participants, on an animal welfare front and for Racing Integrity, it allowed us a lot more opportunity to go out and visit properties and kennels.

On an average year, we would do between 200 and 250 inspections. This year we did 684, in the last financial year.

What I can't tell you is which ones were announced and unannounced, but the majority would be unannounced.

Ms O'CONNOR - Am I able to put that on notice? Are you happy with that, minister?

Mr KING - Well I don't have that information, because I don't think we record it. It is something we might potentially do in the future, but I am pretty sure we don't record that information.

Ms O'CONNOR - So 684 inspections in the past year and how many breaches of the Animal Welfare Act or the Rules of Racing were identified?

Mr KING - Racing Integrity hasn't initiated anything under legislation. However, we have partnered with the RSPCA on one or two matters, which may have, at least one I can recall, resulted in charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

Racing Regulation breaches - I can give you the total number of offences.

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes, that would be appreciated. If there is anything you don't quite get to in the time we have left, let's just put them on notice.

Ms HOWLETT - I can give you the breakdown of the inspections per code, while you are finding that if you like.

Mr KING - Over the last financial year, Racing Integrity initiated 436 charges under the racing rules. What was the next one?

Ms O'CONNOR - Charges and convictions.

Ms HOWLETT - Breakdown of visits per code.

Mr KING - All of those, except 17, because we only had 17 go to appeal. Of the 17 that went to appeal, only four of those were quashed.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you. Minister, you had some documentation there that you might want to share with the committee or be happy to table in the interest of time.

Ms HOWLETT - With the code breakdown of inspections - for example, in 2017-18 in the Thoroughbred Code, there were 107 visits; in 2018-19, 61 visits; and in 2019 20, there were 223 visits. That was for thoroughbreds.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thoroughbreds; that doesn't go to greyhound racing.

Ms HOWLETT - For harness - 2017-18, 37 inspections; 2018 19, 58 inspections; and in 2019 20, 185 inspections.

So, you can see that ORI has been incredibly busy with the shutdown on racing.

With greyhounds - 2017 18, 79 inspections; 2018 19, 122 inspections; and in 2019 20, 276 inspections. That brings a total to 684 inspections.