Questions in Parliament

Kristie Johnston, Question to the Minister for Racing – 28 March 2023

By March 28, 2023No Comments

Thank you Mr Speaker.

My question is to the Minister for Racing.

Minister, as you know, animal welfare advocates and I have been deeply disturbed by the incident of a thoroughbred horse being beaten with a PVC pipe at a Brighton training facility.

I’ve asked you questions about it previously.

Despite this abhorrent incident occurring on 30 September last year, the Steward’s inquiry has only just been completed and the report released publicly.

For hitting a horse with a PVC pipe multiple times the trainer Sarah Cotton, and stable hand Mel Cotton, each received a $400 fine with $200 suspended on condition of no similar offending over the next two years. So effectively a $200 fine each.

Minister, this is nothing more than a pathetic slap on the wrist. Similar offences in mainland jurisdictions have resulted in penalties with much higher fines and lengthy suspensions from racing.

Minister, the whole racing industry – greyhounds, thoroughbreds and harness – is riddled with participants who put making money ahead of animal welfare, and as demonstrated by the excellent reporting from the ABC, integrity is nowhere to be seen.

And this morning, on ABC radio, we heard the distress from harness trainer Gavin Kelly about the conduct of the Office Racing Integrity and that a number of people wanted to speak out to and blow the whistle on what is happening but they are too fearful.

Minister, this is happening on your watch and the buck stops with you.

Minister will you resign and let someone else take over who will actually perform the role of a competent Racing Minister?

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