Issued:Wednesday 21 September, 2011 [PDF,173kb]
The NSW Minister for Racing, George Souris, today announced that the stewards’ operations overseeing thoroughbred and harness racing in the State will be combined, under the auspices of Racing NSW.
The decision to combine the stewards’ functions was agreed to by the boards of both Racing NSW and Harness Racing NSW at the request of Mr Souris.
"I asked both Boards to agree to the move to ensure and protect the integrity of racing in this State, especially after the recent allegations of corruption in the harness racing industry," Mr Souris said.
"The Racing NSW stewards’ panel is internationally renowned for excellence in its operation and management and is well placed to apply world’s best practice to the NSW harness racing industry".
"While the finer details are yet to be announced, one panel of stewards will be responsible for both thoroughbred and harness racing".
Mr Souris said a senior person responsible for integrity management and anti-corruption programs would head the stewards’ panel.
"I believe this will help ensure the integrity of the both codes and raise the confidence in harness racing to the same level as thoroughbred racing.
"Racing in NSW is a multi- billion dollar industry and is far too important to the State’s economy to have any section of it under a cloud of suspicion".
Mr Souris said this was a clear indication of the determination of the NSW Government and those involved in both racing codes to ensure public confidence.
"The public and all the other stakeholders must have total confidence in the honesty of the racing industry, know that it is being conducted properly and that all stakeholders can be certain that every race is run and won on its merits and without interference".
CEO of Racing NSW, Peter V’landys, said his Board was pleased to assist the Minister in his proactive strategy to restore confidence to the NSW harness racing industry.
"We compliment the Minister in acting swiftly and decisively," he added.
Chairman of Harness Racing NSW, Graeme Campbell, said the Board of Harness Racing NSW fully supported the Minister’s initiative to restore the integrity of the sport and would meet very soon with Racing NSW to finalise arrangements.
Mr Souris has supported the appointment the Harness Racing NSW Board of a three man panel to conduct the inquiries relating to the current corruption investigation.
"This creates a necessary arm’s length overview of the current investigation and this action, together with the integration of the stewards signals a level of confidence in harness racing in NSW".
Media: Norm Lipson 0467 734 679