The Victorian government must act immediately to stop a betting scandal causing further damage to racing in the state, shadow racing minister Martin Pakula says.
Mr Pakula accused the government of “prevarication bordering on negligence” by refusing to grant racing authorities the powers to suspend jockeys.
His call came after allegations champion rider Damien Oliver had admitted betting on a rival horse in a race were aired in the media, shifting the focus from the Melbourne Cup.
An investigation was launched last month when the claims surfaced and Fairfax Media reports Oliver has admitted to breaching racing rules by betting $10,000 on Miss Octopussy in a race at Moonee Valley two years ago.
Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Hines would not comment on the ongoing affair but said he expected the investigation to be completed soon.
And Victorian racing minister Denis Napthine said in a statement Racing Victoria operated separately from the government and it would be inappropriate for him to comment.
Mr Pakula said the government could introduce legislation which would give Racing Victoria the powers they have been asking for.
“It’s beyond time for Minister Napthine to give RVL the powers they’ve been calling for two years now,” Mr Pakula said.
“The Minister continues to stubbornly refuse. It’s beyond belief that he would continue after today.
“We’ve got the Melbourne Cup today which should never, ever be under a cloud.”
Mr Pakula said there was “absolutely no reason” to deny Racing Victoria the powers that Queensland Racing and New South Wales Racing have already got.
“I do think this is prevarication bordering on negligence,” he said.
The news of the investigation caused Oliver to be sacked from the Lloyd Williams-owned Green Moon in the Cox Plate and My Quest For Peace in the Caulfield Cup.
He later picked up the ride on 2010 winner Americain in Tuesday’s race.
Mr Pakula said the Opposition had made it clear if the government brought forward legislation to increase Racing Victoria’s powers, the Opposition would pass the legislation “without hesitation”.
Oliver posted a Melbourne Cup day win when Walk With Attitude won the Lexus Hybrid Plate.
“It’s nice to get a win for (Americain’s owner) Gerry (Ryan) before the Melbourne Cup,” Oliver said as he returned to scale.
“I hope I can get a running double for him.”