Wed, Oct 30, 5:24pm by Dominic Ciconte
THE Victorian Racing Industry will have more power to investigate and stamp out corruption under new state legislation announced yesterday.
Victorian Premier and Minister for Racing, Dr Denis Napthine, introduced an amendment to the 1958 Racing Act that would:
Dr Napthine said the legislative enhancements will give the Racing Integrity Commissioner the power to call upon racing controlling bodies, registered clubs and licensed persons in the racing industry to cooperate with investigations and inquiries.
“Victoria has the best racing in Australia, but there is always a need to keep ahead of the game and maintain strong safeguards against corruption,” Dr Napthine said.
“Racing is a vital economic contributor to the state of Victoria, especially in rural and regional areas, and ensuring it remains corruption-free is essential to the $2 billion industry’s ongoing strength.
“These reforms significantly strengthen the Racing Integrity Commissioner’s powers and will ensure the integrity of Victoria’s racing industry as a whole.
The office of Racing Integrity Commissioner had been established to provide an independent oversight on integrity issues across Victoria’s three racing codes – thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds. The current commissioner is Sal Perna.
The legislative amendments will also eliminate any doubt over Racing Victoria’s power to apply the rules of racing to non-licensed persons, similar to the powers exercised by other Victorian racing controlling bodies.
“All people participating in racing, whether licensed or non-licensed, will now need to adhere to rules of racing, or otherwise be subject to penalties such as exclusion from racing,” Dr Napthine said.
“These new legislative amendments will also ensure that people appearing before the Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board are afforded procedural fairness and natural justice.”
Dr Napthine also confirmed that further reforms relating to the three racing codes bodies’ governance of integrity services would be finalised in the coming months.
Victorian Racing is not only a $2 billion industry for the state, but also a big part of Victoria’s social and sporting landscape – something that the state government knows cannot be threatened by corruption. Any legislation that is designed to stamp out and prevent corruption is a step in the right direction.
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