I am writing to provide an update around the circumstances that we find ourselves in following the decision to stop racing in Tasmania for the next four weeks.
At the time of the announcement, the Premier, Peter Gutwein, said the public health advice about the industry continuing to operate was clear, and while disappointed, the Tasmanian Government had little choice but to follow that advice and stop race meetings effective immediately.
The Premier has reiterated to me that the decision was made taking full account of that public health advice and the need to stop travel between regions of the state.
Tasracing discussed with the Minister for Racing, Jane Howlett, the need for training centres to remain open to help manage potential animal welfare issues and keep animals in work. This was approved as the people who work in the training centres are from the same region.
I have already met with Ms Howlett to discuss the support package mentioned by the Premier.
I expect the Minister will make an announcement about what this looks like early next week.
In terms of a return to racing, that will depend on the health situation.
I have been candid with the Minister about what a return to racing might look like and have said publicly that the cessation of racing is not just for the four week but will also include an extra four to 12 weeks to get the animals fit and back into racing condition.
But Tasracing’s first priority is to secure an appropriate support package to ensure that the three codes survive.
Once that is achieved we will switch our focus to getting back to racing.
I will be communicating with you regularly about our progress.
In the meantime, while I know it is easy to say that these are challenging times and we need to stay positive and support each other, that is exactly what we must do.
The Tasmanian racing industry is incredibly resilient and I have great faith that with the right support measures in place, we will survive this unprecedented challenge.