Victoria Minister for Racing Denis Napthine
Minister Seeks Independent Investigation Of Damien Oliver Inquiry
Victor P Taffa
Minister for Racing Denis Napthine has today urgently written to Victoria’s independent Racing Integrity Commissioner seeking an investigation into the handling of the inquiry relating to licensed jockey Damien Oliver by Racing Victoria officials.
“The Victorian Coalition Government believes that integrity must be first and foremost for the Victorian racing industry.” Dr. Napthine said.
“Integrity is the foundation of the industry. Punters, participants, industry stakeholders and the wider public must have confidence that races are run with integrity.”
Dr. Napthine said the Oliver inquiry focused on a race that took place at Moonee Valley in October 2010 which was won by Miss Octopussy. Subsequently, evidence was put to stewards that Mr. Oliver, who rode a separate horse in that race, placed a significant bet, through a third party, on Miss Octopussy.
“This inquiry attracted significant public interest and has raised questions regarding the general integrity of thoroughbred racing in Victoria.” Dr. Napthine said.
“Racing Victoria is independent of Government and its integrity systems must be allowed to operate without interference from the Government.”
“In the interest of natural justice and due process I was careful to make sure the Damien Oliver inquiry ran its course without Government interference.” Dr. Napthine said.
“However, I was very concerned about allegations of mishandling and delays into resolving the Oliver inquiry.”
“These allegations were raised during the height of Victoria’s critical Spring Racing Carnival and their ongoing coverage had a negative impact on the profile of the carnival.”
Dr. Napthine said he has asked the Racing Integrity Commissioner to examine:
- Whether this inquiry was conducted as efficiently and expeditiously as possible;
- The timing of the inquiry including when Racing Victoria was provided with any allegations, evidence and admissions;
- Whether Racing Victoria acted appropriately with respect to its stand down powers;
- Other related matters which you see fit to examine.
“I have also asked for any recommendations from the Racing Integrity Commissioner to improve handling of similar integrity matters into the future.” Dr. Napthine said.
“It is absolutely critical the public is made fully aware of the details of the handling of this high profile and potentially industry damaging matter.”