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24/3/202 Australian racing to continue 

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys, who has also been juggling the crisis as chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission, confirmed yesterday that racing in the state would continue with strict biosecurity measures in place. His Racing Victoria counterpart Giles Thompson said his board met yesterday following the latest regulations imposed and that they resolved to press on with meetings. “The decision to continue racing and training is not one that has been taken lightly, but we make it knowing that Victorian racing will continue to do everything to remain compliant with all the current directives, guidelines and advice established by the Victorian government on the advice of the chief health officer,” Thompson said. “We won’t rest on our laurels though. We will continually review this decision in consultation with government and health authorities to ensure that we are acting in not only the best interests of all of the staff and stakeholders in our industry, but their families, friends and indeed the wider community. “I can’t stress enough how important it is for all stakeholders within our industry to ensure they abide by both the government directives and our strict industry protocols and that they ensure that they maintain good hygiene, practice social distancing and self-isolate when required.” Racing Queensland also confirmed it would proceed with race meetings, while South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT are also expected to continue. Earlier, Victorian racing minister Martin Pakula confirmed that racing in his state, and Australia-wide, had permission to continue for the time being, but admitted that further government restrictions could see a shutdown of the industry if the Covid-19 pandemic worsens. “Everyone in the industry is making the best arguments that we can make and acting in a unified way to make the case to health officials why (we should keep racing),” Pakula told RSN927 yesterday. “Racing (Victoria) has been very proactive, it has taken social distancing measures, they put crowds out before they were required to do so. They’ve already announced the May races (at Warrnambool) … will be crowd free. They are separating jockeys. They are doing everything right. “But ultimately health officials will make a decision based on what they think is needed to slow the spread of this disease. As an industry we are going to have to accept and respect that.” The national cabinet is due to meet tonight to discuss further biosecurity measures which could again threaten to stop racing.