Ross Barnett is moving on from his position of Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner.
Barnett will now head up a government appointed team investigating serious allegations of gross misconduct by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.
Barnett was appointed as Queensland’s first Racing Integrity Commissioner in May 2016, initially for a three-year period which was then extended.
The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) was created on the back of the recommendations contained in the MacSporran Report, with that report itself being the result of a one-man Commission Of Inquiry into the greyhound live baiting scandal in 2015.
The sweeping changes the Queensland government instituted at that time … including the disbanding of all of the Racing Boards then in place … was not well received by many of those involved in the horseracing industry, as they saw horseracing as a separate racing code which has nothing to do with the greyhound scandal.
That angst has never really disappeared with QRIC still often criticized by horseracing participants for a variety of reasons which have included, amongst others … rightly or wrongly, aspects such as the timeframe in which they bring matters to a resolution, their knowledge of the racing industry … or lack of it, their success rate in cases prosecuted and, not least, the overall cost involved in the running of QRIC and just how such expense can be justified in terms of QRIC’s sometimes perceived ordinary level of performance.
From QRIC’s side, Barnett’s team, which answers directly to the state government, has been obliged to work within the parameters that have been set out for them by legislation meaning they were often in a ‘no win’ situation with regard to dealing with participant’s grievances.
It has certainly not been smooth sailing for QRIC and the sea has not flattened out yet.
But, from now, all of that is in the past tense for Ross Barnett as he leaves racing and moves on to a new, very important job.
It is expected that Barnett’s deputy Mark Ainsworth will step into the top position, at least on an interim basis.