Premier Announces Tassie Racing Suspension

TASMANIAN Premier Peter Gutwein has dropped the hammer on the state's racing industry by suspending all three codes for at least a month.

Adam Dobbin

2 April 2020

TASMANIAN Premier Peter Gutwein has dropped the hammer on the state’s racing industry by suspending all three codes for at least the next month.

Introduced with immediate effect, meaning tonight’s Hobart race meeting has been abandoned, the shutdown measures are in response to the always evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week, the Tasmanian government granted the racing industry an exemption to continue racing until next Monday, April 6, with further review at that time.

But it’s understood that with the first cases of community transmission of COVID-19 detected in the state, that review was brought forward, with racing to now cease for at least the next month.

Following Thursday’s announcement, Tasracing CEO Paul Eriksson said he will work closely with the state’s Minister for Racing, Jane Howlett, on the details of a support package for the Tasmanian racing industry.

“Many industry participants will be eligible for assistance measures already announced by the Tasmanian Government and the Commonwealth over recent weeks, both to businesses and individuals,” Eriksson said.

Eriksson went on to say that he noted the Premier’s comments that the public health advice about the industry continuing to operate was clear, and while disappointed, the government had little choice but to follow that advice.

“Animal welfare will be a key issue for the industry to manage during this shutdown period,” Eriksson said.

“These racing animals are high-performance athletes and their care, exercising and maintenance is a 24 hour, 7 days a week task.

“Stopping racing does not stop this need – lower exercise regimes which this shut down will enforce could contribute to other issues upon our return.

“It should be remembered that the cessation of racing is not just for the currently identified four week period – it will also include an extra four to 12  weeks to get the animal back into racing condition.

“While race and trial meetings will be cancelled for at least the next four weeks, those industry participants who are essential for the welfare of racing animals will be able to continue their important work.”