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Nats demand an explanation from Racing Minister after mass resignations

The Nationals WA are demanding an explanation from the Racing and Gaming Minister after all five members of the Thoroughbred Racing Committee (TRC) resigned en masse.

Racing and gaming spokesperson Colin Holt said the concerning development came at a precarious time for the industry as the Government ambled toward introducing enabling legislation into Parliament for the sale of the WA TAB.

The Nationals raised the mass resignations during Question Time on Thursday yet the Minister responded with the same laissez-faire attitude he has become renowned for on racing matters.

“The Minister for Tourism, who occasionally takes an interest in the racing portfolio, essentially shrugged his shoulders and said ‘well, the TRC doesn’t report to me so it isn’t my problem’,” Mr Holt said.

“The Minister’s view is that the TRC is just one of many eligible industry bodies available for consultation with Racing and Wagering WA but this ignores the fact that RWWA created the TRC in 2017 to be a united voice for the thoroughbred code.”

The TRC’s responsibilities as stated by RWWA include, among others, the consideration of the sport’s strategic plan, identifying and planning for industry infrastructure needs, establishing policies for stake money and devising strategies to develop training programs for apprentice jockeys.

Mr Holt questioned why RWWA would establish a committee which was so easily expendable and demanded answers from the Minister.

“Minister Papalia needs to explain why these mass resignations occurred and what it means for thoroughbred racing,” Mr Holt said.

“The Minister needs to provide an assurance to the industry that it will be heard at such a critical time in the sport’s history in WA.

“The Minister must clarify what the demise of the TRC means for the harness and greyhound sub-committees which are still in existence. What is their future and does the Minister consider them to be valuable?”

Mr Holt also raised questions in Parliament this week over the pace at which the Treasurer was bringing enabling legislation to State Parliament for the sale of the TAB.

“In his October media statement the Treasurer said enabling legislation would be brought to Parliament by ‘early 2019’ yet we still haven’t seen anything and have had zero briefings,” Mr Holt said. 

“Now the Treasurer tells us the delays are due to consultation yet the people he should be consulting with have all just resigned.”