To say the racing industry, across all three codes, has lost its social licence and the confidence of the Tasmanian people, is an understatement.
There is a crisis at every turn.
The latest edition came in Parliament today when I alerted the racing minister, Felix Ellis, to the fact that Tasmania’s leading thoroughbred horse trainer Scott Brunton had been allowed to continue his trainer’s licence for at least a year when the Office of Racing Integrity knew that he was experiencing significant financial difficulty. Such financial difficulties are an apparent breach of the conditions of the licence and the rules of racing. The Federal Court on Friday issued a court order winding up Brunton Stables and Mr Brunton allegedly owes approximately $1million to the Australian Taxation Office.
Mr Brunton raced his horses on Sunday at Elwick. It’s business as usual for him.
All this under the watch of the Office of Racing Integrity, and waved on by successive, servile racing ministers.
All Mr Ellis could do was read a prepared brief that deferred to ORI as the arbitrator in deciding who is fit to hold a trainer’s licence.
Another racing minister on automatic pilot, unable to take control of his portfolio.
The text of my question follows:
Minister I have raised with your predecessor my concerns that the Office of Racing Integrity knew for at least twelve months that Scott Brunton, Tasmania’s leading thoroughbred trainer, was clearly in significant financial difficulty and allowed him to continue holding a trainers licence despite the fact that his financial circumstances was in breach of the requirements of a trainers licence and Tasmanian Racing Rules.
On Friday the Federal Court issued an order winding up Brunton Racing under insolvency provisions. He allegedly owes approximately $1million to the Australian Tax Office.
On Saturday morning, Mr Brunton wrote to his owners and reassured them that it was business as usual because he would simple name another person as the “trainer” but he would continue to train the horses himself.
It seems to me that Mr Brunton is thumbing his nose at the racing rules and ORI because he knows ORI will do nothing.
Minister, this is another example of how weak ORI is. Do you still stand by them and is it ok that Mr Brunton intends to flaunt the rules of racing so brazenly?