By ROSS BARNETT APM
Queensland Racing Industry Commissioner
As greyhound racing continues, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic period I would like to thank all of you for your assistance and for those essential personnel who are attending race meetings for ensuring that social distancing and hygiene measures are followed.
Across the racing industry and across the state we are all dealing with unprecedented challenges, not just to the viability of the racing industry, but in our personal and working lives.
We are all being forced to adapt to a new normal that has included some significant changes for racing industry participants.
The Commission and Racing Queensland (RQ) have worked together to support the continuation of race meetings in three codes around the state without patrons along with supporting the adoption of designated racing regions to further support the Queensland Government’s direction to stay local, reduce non-essential travel and to limit the spread of COVID-19.
In line with these unprecedented biosecurity measures QRIC staff including Stewards, veterinarians and sample collection officers have also positioned themselves in the respective zones too to ensure racing goes on.
Industry participants are being temperature tested at racetracks, social distancing rules have been enacted and industry personnel are being made aware of their responsibilities to follow these rules.
The Commission’s Brisbane offices remain open for business albeit with some contact restrictions and it is recommended that participants communicate with QRIC staff on line or by telephone wherever possible.
The QRIC Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) is still very much open for business with some subtle changes to intakes for industry and there are some new protocols for earbranding and microchipping due to COVID-19 (see the full story on these changes – Page 21) and greyhound adoptions are continuing as usual.
The Commission’s Integrity Investigations Team (IIT) is continuing with its operations around the state to ensure racing is carried out on a level playing field.
The vital operational work of the IIT is continuing to support the continuation of greyhound racing at this time.
For racing to continue it is imperative that every club, licensee and participant abide by the directions of the Stewards at all times.
The rules are non-negotiable for the health and safety of participants and for the industry.
They are currently protecting the livelihoods of thousands of people in the racing industry, we have seen most participants doing the right thing and I commend you for that and most understand that to flout the rules shows a total disregard for the difficult situation everyone is currently facing.
QRIC Steward’s Inquiries are continuing throughout the pandemic period.
Stewards are offering participants the opportunity to provide submissions in writing or at a Steward’s Inquiry to be held via telephone or video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission is working to ensure the safety of participants and QRIC staff during the pandemic.
Race-day Inquiries are being held on race day at the race track observing social distancing protocols.
The Commission is continually reviewing its response to the Coronavirus outbreak and we will keep the racing community informed of any changes to this advice (See the dedicated QRIC COvid-19 response web page on the QRIC website qric.qld.gov.au for updates).
COVID-19 measures for racing in Queensland include:
- The introduction of patron-free racing with on-course access now restricted to essential licensed personnel;
- A requirement for participants to leave immediately after their racing commitments (once cleared by stewards).