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TasRacing – Track Design

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Tags: TasRacing, Infrastructure

Ms O'CONNOR - I understand that, Mr Eriksson and that's the reality of nature of the industry which breeds them for profit, I understand that. It is noteworthy that more than a third of the horses that participate do not live out the term of their natural life.

If we go now to the new proposed Latrobe track, because as we know the causes of death and injury to animals across the racing industry often relate to very poor track design. Your expert, Professor David Eager, from the University of Sydney said in 2017 that straight tracks are the only way to go. As we know, building a straight track would cost more money but it would prevent injury and death. Can you confirm, minister, that the decision was made not to build a straight track at Latrobe for cost purposes?

Ms HOWLETT - Absolutely not. That is not the reason -

Ms O'CONNOR - Why are you building a track that is still going to lead to injury and death?

Ms HOWLETT - Because Professor Eager has advised that this will be one of the best tracks in the whole of Australia, and it is totally focused on animal welfare.

Mr ERIKSSON - Ms O'Connor, I believe I have answered this in part at an earlier point, and that is that the report that you refer to comes from 2016-17 and was interim findings and was not final recommendations. It was an interim report, minimal data, minimal analysis. It was a supposition. I have already flagged that there are reports that Professor Eager has published since then, which show that those interim findings, those interim recommendations were not correct. For example, the eight- versus six dog fields.

The other comment I'd make is that the track that's being designed is being designed, yes, as a single-turn track, but with an 86 metre radius which would make it the largest single-turn track in Australia, with the least amount of forces on the greyhound. Secondly, those greyhounds will be running a natural line into that corner rather than an unnatural line. They will not be going from the straight into a curve; there is a substantial transition, and that is what Professor Eager is designing.

In relation to the initial part of your question when you focussed on harness horses and the north-west tracks, the independent expert we've utilised for that is a gentleman by the name of Wayne Edgeloe who is an expert who resides in Perth. He has been instrumental in the redesign of the majority of the harness tracks on the eastern seaboard over the last 20 years. This is, again, a welfare-focused track. It is a 1040 metre track with appropriate turns and gradients across it, to reduce the impact of racing on the animal.