Victoria’s racing minister must explain why he has delayed giving racing officials more powers to weed out wrongdoing, the state opposition says.
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews says Racing Minister Denis Napthine has dragged his feet on giving Racing Victoria Limited (RVL) powers which they had sought to clamp down on wrongdoers.
His comments came as jockey Damien Oliver made his first admissions and was charged on Tuesday over a betting scandal that has shaken the horse racing industry.
“In terms of how we’ve got into what I think is a real mess, with someone charged today who rode … in many parts of the carnival last week, is because Denis Napthine has not given to RVL the powers that they sought, the powers that greyhounds and harness racing have, the powers that racing in NSW and QLD have,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“Denis Napthine has filibustered on this, he’s tried to stonewall, he’s got every excuse under the sun, but the fact is this matter would have been resolved before those races last week.”
Asked about the way authorities had handled charging Oliver, Premier Ted Baillieu said, “That’s a matter for Racing Victoria and we will see what ensues.”
Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Hines said stewards had been unable to act any earlier while investigating allegations that Oliver breached the rules of racing by betting $10,000 on a rival horse in a race in which he was riding at Moonee Valley two years ago.
Mr Hines said authorities were bound by the law and had little or no grounds for withdrawing the jockey’s licence.
Oliver will face a hearing next Tuesday when full details of two charges he is facing will be aired.