RACING Queensland is committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with our industry during the current COVID-19 crisis.
Since last month’s edition, the racing industry – and the world more broadly – has been turned on its head with the global pandemic rapidly evolving and forcing large-scale changes to our operations.
At the time of going to print, RQ had introduced a range of biosecurity measures to help quarantine the greyhound racing industry during COVID-19 including limiting on-course access to essential licensed personnel and the introduction of designated racing regions.
In lieu of the circumstances, further restrictions may be deemed necessary as time proceeds, with our primary concerns centred around the health and wellbeing of our participants and quarantining the industry from a state-wide shutdown.
On an annual basis, the Queensland racing industry is responsible for sustaining 11,570 full-time jobs which provides $850.4 million in salaries and wages, whilst supporting more than 40,000 participants across the thoroughbred, greyhound and harness codes.
We are acutely aware that people’s livelihoods are at stake and that our actions have consequences.
In recent times, we made the decision to postpone TAB Queensland Greyhound Awards which were scheduled to be held at Victoria Park.
While the Awards serve as the industry’s night of nights – and we will endeavour to re-schedule the event following the global pandemic – the health and safety of our participants is our priority during these unprecedented times.
To assist clubs, participants and the general public with relevant information during the global pandemic, RQ will post the latest information – and updates – to a dedicated web page which can be found at www.racingqueensland.com.au.
Designated racing regions
With RQ’s designated racing regions model commencing at Albion Park on Monday, March 30, every Queensland greyhound trainer has now been allocated a region to which greyhounds in their care may be nominated to race.
The greyhound regions are:
- South East Queensland (Albion Park, Ipswich and Capalaba);
- Wide Bay (Bundaberg);
- Central Queensland (Rockhampton); and
- North Queensland.
Regional racing will apply at all Queensland greyhound meetings until further notice.
During this time, any nominations received outside of a trainer’s allocated region will not be accepted.
However, RQ has agreed to conduct a review of this decision after 14 days of implementation.
During this time, RQ will consider whether it is appropriate or not for greyhounds to be transferred between zones for the purpose of racing through non-raceday commercial transport providers.
Further communication on the matter will be provided following the review.
On-course arrangements and participant obligations
Key information on participant obligations at all Queensland greyhound meetings is as follows:
- Attendance at any race meeting, as previously advised, is patron-free and restricted to trainers and essential attendants or support directly required to enable a greyhound to race at the said meeting;
- Effective from Monday, March 30, procedures around the recording of on-course attendees will change and all participants will be required to assist with any processes in place to ensure complete recording of all attendees;
- RQ will soon introduce temperature testing for all attendees at racing venues. This procedure will apply at the point of entrance and requires the co-operation of all licensees;
- All on-course attendees should ensure the strongest possible adherence to social distancing during pre-kennelling, kennel areas, race parades and in the designated on-course areas between racing engagements;
- The directions of stewards and race club officials with regard to social distancing and hygiene standards must be adhered to at all occasions;
- No catering is provided at any race meetings. Participants are able to bring their own personal food and beverages (minimal levels) but this must not include any form of alcohol;
- The on-course environment, in these difficult times, should be viewed as a restricted work-place and the continuation of racing is significantly reliant on the ongoing support of participants with regard to emphatic adherence to social distancing obligations at every opportunity.
2020 TAB Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival
As part of the move to designated racing regions, RQ has also advised that up-coming carnivals for all codes have been cancelled.
In coming days, further information will be released around the details of replacement events and a re-direction of carnival prize money to more essential industry requirements.
Finish On Lure
During this period, the finish on lure will not be used at race meetings at Albion Park whilst COVID-19 on course restrictions remain in place.
All Queensland race clubs, however, are permitted to use the finish on lure during trial sessions for solo trials only.
Finally, RQ appearance fees will no longer be paid on track, effective from March 30, so as to further reduce any need for face-to-face interaction and cash handling.
RQ will now pay the appearance fees via electronic transfer directly to participants in the weekly prize money run which is processed every Wednesday.
Further details relating to RQ’s amended payment process can be found in the COVID-19 section on the RQ website.