The unprecedented challenge presented to the Tasmanian racing industry by COVID-19 continues.
I understand and share the frustration of everyone in our industry as we wake up each day to see our interstate competitors continuing to race.
Unfortunately, we do not yet have a resumption date. On a positive note we have, in the last 24 hours, heard the Premier announce both an easing of restrictions on the North West coast and the establishment of the Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council to provide advice to Government on strategies and initiatives to support the short to medium term recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. These, along with the stabilised COVID-19 numbers across Tasmania, are good signals that we are edging closer to a return to racing.
As many of you are already aware, there is a Return to Racing Plan currently with the Government. This plan was developed by Tasracing, our Racing Minister and representatives from across our industry.
The Plan proposes that racing across all three codes can safely re-start from 15 May under a regionalised north/south model, and under strict COVID-19 safety measures including an ongoing ban on public attendance. The Plan, at this stage, excludes racing in the North West region until the situation there improves further.
I would like to acknowledge and thank those who have contributed so constructively and collaboratively to the Return to Racing Plan. Tasracing is confident that as an industry, we have collectively presented a Plan that is sound, strategic, and more than adequately mitigates the risk of racing contributing to the spread of COVID-19.
We are committed to working tirelessly on behalf of the 5,000 Tasmanians employed directly and indirectly in racing, with the aim of re-starting our industry as soon as the Government determine it is safe to do so.
Tasracing will advise all industry participants as soon as there is any further news from the Government to the Return to Racing Plan. We will provide updates via the Corporate website and via SMS message.
Finally, a reminder to Trainers to submit your Welfare Payment Application or Update Forms online HERE. We have already processed and paid a majority of Trainers across all three codes under the Tasmanian Racing C-19 Welfare Payment Scheme, but we are still waiting on a number of people to complete their online submissions.
On a personal note, I strongly believe our industry will emerge from this crisis intensely determined to reclaim our place in national and global racing markets. If we harness that determination as an entire industry, I believe we can get back to an even better competitive position than we occupied prior to our closure. I thank all of you for your support and your assistance as we work to resume.