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MY CALL: IT IS TIME TO ACTIVATE THE QUEENSLAND RACING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS EXIT STRATEGY

By David Fowler | Tuesday, April 28, 2020

David Fowler is the principal thoroughbred caller for Radio TAB. David, who is a keen form student and punter, has enjoyed a lifetime involvement in the racing media. His personal blog, ‘My Call’, appears exclusively on HRO.

The Queensland racing exit strategy to the covid-19 “crisis” must soon become apparent.

And it’s not a punctuation mark error that quotations surround the word “crisis”.

As the racing industry nationally travels into the seventh week of dealing with this situation, it can be suitably proud of its’ handling of it.

But despite what you hear, the covid 19 pandemic in Australia has not been as bad as was predicted and that’s a good thing.

There is a school of thought that the Federal and state governments overreached badly on untested and exaggerated modelling figures.

The converse argument is that they and the Australian population performed so well that it resulted in the number of cases and deaths being amazingly low.

Like most arguments, there is certain to be some middle ground.

And, yes, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

But beyond any argument supporting either point of view is that notorious curve has well and truly flattened.
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Some facts. Today, Queensland has currently experienced 1033 cases and only 93 of those are now active compared to 280 a week ago.

That figure is worth repeating. There are 93 active covid-19 cases in a state population of 5.1 million. Think about it.

There have been six deaths.

Whether it be racing or whatever business or industry, it’s clearly time to start transitioning back to what can be loosely described as “normal”.

I previously mentioned at this story’s outset there were twists and turns and no end point. Today, there are less twists and turns and we are edging much closer to an end point than embarking from the start.

Significantly, racing is an industry under state government control. Many will remark Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor government has been one of the stricter authorities over the past six weeks.

Yet even they are now beginning to relax restriction, albeit cautiously.

Racing Queensland made no secret of their close working relationship with the State government and health authorities when the news was all bad.

Those communications must continue but now in a more positive frame of mind, collaborating to ease racing’s restrictions.

There is another review of the Queensland racing zoning system on Friday. Many are hopeful the line dividing metro-north (Brisbane and Sunshine Coast ) and metro south-west ( Gold Coast, Ipswich and Toowoomba ) will disappear.

This would be simple and sensible.

Does the zoning system itself need to extend past the end of May? A valid question.

Is there an appetite for the inclusion of more black-type racing before the end of July? One would suggest there is.
Racing’s financial state of health will get a much needed shot in the arm with the re-opening of TAB agencies, clubs and pubs. Again, Racing Queensland and State Government need to step up to the plate to lobby the Federal government on this measure. Every voice will help.

And race clubs and their key administrators need to start knocking on a few doors as they begin to reset their commercial models that have been trashed by this “crisis”.

The position has been clear for more than several days that the nation is poised to cease the economy’s hibernation and resume activities.

Everyone understands it’s not a flick switcher but a transitioning progress with rules applied such as social distancing, hand washing etc.

Racing ‘s stakeholders deserve to see some action at the station. The time has clearly arrived. Panic stations are over. Recovery measures must start now.

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David Fowler
David Fowler
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best