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By Graham Potter | Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Following a week of upheaval in the horse racing industry following government’s failure to show the horse racing industry the respect it deserves with the Point Of Consumption Tax distribution deal, the battle that has unfolded will move to new ground today with the industry army very much on the march with Parliament House in its sights.

Racing Minister Sterling Hinchliffe, recalled from holiday to try and manage this extraordinary situation, and members of his staff will be there to greet the delegation of horse racing representatives with a view to defusing a situation which threatens to blow what little goodwill that still exists between government and the horse racing industry into such little pieces that they might not be able to put things back together again.

Industrial action has been threatened. Dates for such action have been earmarked and significant stakeholder participation is already assured should there prove to be no alternative to that drastic course of action.

The government have put on the face of racing’s benefactor for some time, complete with false smile and meaningless commentary, but behind that mask has been a demeanour that has been staggering in its apathy and ignorance. They have had enough time to realise the folly of their ways … now racing is doing something about, ripping off the mask and exposing the government’s real identity and agenda and challenging them to do better.

To date government’s view of racing has represented an immovable object but there is now a change in the wind. We will find out pretty soon whether government can recognise that or not.

Horse racing’s demand is for an immediate, significant cash injection into prize-money. They say it is a case that they will accept nothing less than that if they are to call off the proposed strike action.

Today representatives will take that demand to a special meeting with the Deputy Premier and State Treasurer Jackie Trad, the architect of the Point of Consumption Tax distribution deal, the details of which are unacceptable to horse racing, and the Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and his staff.

One can only hope that the outcome is as decisive as the intent.

Either way, racing can ill afford another round of smoke and mirror talks designed to confuse, complicate the issue, and bring about one of those useless delays which has so helped stricken the racing industry in the past.

Racing has to be past falling for this deception.

If that happens all of the momentum that racing gained in the last ten days would be gone.

The time for goodwill, for giving government any benefit of the doubt is past. There is nothing personal in this to anybody involved. That is not the way to go as it serves no purpose … but a hard line has to be taken in unwavering fashion if racing is to secure a prosperous future.

A seemingly immovable object against fast a rising tide.

It should make riveting viewing.

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