The cancellation of a number of race meetings across Victoria has highlighted the need for the Baillieu Government to take urgent action to ensure that country race tracks are safe, Shadow Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula said.
In Parliament this week, Mr Pakula called on the Minister for Racing, Denis Napthine to order an immediate audit of the state of country race tracks.
“On New Year's Day the much anticipated Hanging Rock picnic race meeting was abandoned after one race, when the winner almost fell. The traditional Australia Day meeting was then moved to Kyneton following more safety concerns,” Mr Pakula said.
“Last week the Benalla meeting was cancelled after potholes were discovered during race two, and now racing at the track has been suspended for the rest of the season.
“On Saturday, the Colac meeting was transferred to Terang because of the state of the track, with an accompanying media release from Racing Victoria stating, 'all Victorian tracks are inspected by a Racing Victoria steward the day before a meeting'.
“It seems that those routine inspections have not been sufficient to identify problems such as those that have occurred at Hanging Rock and Benalla.
“The Minister must now ensure there is a comprehensive audit carried out to determine the state and safety of regional race tracks, because it is clear that routine inspections are not picking up all of the problems.
“These meetings are too important to local communities to be abandoned part-way through, and the safety of jockeys and horses is too important to be left to chance.”