Racing Australia’s company is owned 35 per cent by Racing Victoria, 35 per cent by Racing NSW, 18 per cent by Racing Queensland, 4.5 per cent by each of Western Australia and Tasmanian racing and three per cent shared between Canberra Racing Club, TasRacing and Throughbred Racing NT. Its voting rights is structured proportionately.
Australian Jockeys’ Association chief executive Martin Talty said “the disparity between states is unhealthy”.
“If either of them [Victoria or NSW] wish to vote against a proposal then they can and that is the end of it,” Talty said.
“The percentage system of voting, I can understand the concept but it may be too lopsided towards NSW and Victoria. Perhaps lessening theirs and increasing those of the other states would be the best way to go.”
ATA chief executive Andrew Nicholl said while restructuring the voting rights might appear a “herculean task, it is by no means mission impossible”.
“It will, however, require a leap of faith particularly by the two major states – NSW and Victoria – and a spirit of compromise and commitment to an outcome which exorcises the veto powers,” Nicholl said.
Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger said his state was open to such a restructure.
“We stand ready to have those conversations with other PRAs in the belief that the future of Australian racing can ultimately benefit from a revamped Racing Australia constitution,” Kruger said.
“The constituted structure of Racing Australia means it lacks the power to act more freely in the national interests of racing and unfortunately we’ve often seen this impact the ability for true progress and change.
“Racing Australia is not able to act with greater authority in areas of national relevance that appropriately sit within its domain, such as the Rules of Racing, and for that it has, rightly or wrongly, received criticism from industry stakeholders.”
While V’landys told The Age that Racing Australia does “a very good job on most of its functions” – all parties believe RA delivers a good service with the national stud book and race-fields compilation – he said whether Racing NSW was open to renegotiating its voting powers would not be discussed through the media.
“We will do it under proper corporate governance,” he said.
Racing Victoria was unable to generate support for its proposal to phase out the whip at last month’s Racing Australia board meeting, while Victoria and NSW both have different altrenogest rules after failing to agree.
The national racing pattern remains an ongoing review at Racing Australia, while Talty believes RA could also take over the media rights negotiations for the betterment of the sport.
RA chief executive Myles Foreman and Racing Queensland chief executive Brendan Parnell both declined to comment when contacted by The Age.
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.