Former deputy premier considering Racing Australia top job
The Sydney Morning Herald – SPORT RACING HORSE RACING By Damien Ractliffe November 28, 2019 — 2.03pm
Former NSW deputy premier Troy Grant is weighing up whether to apply for the
vacant Racing Australia chief executive role after receiving support from racing
and non-racing people.
The former minister of racing under both Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian, Grant
was a key driver of NSW’s greyhound racing ban in 2016, but later resigned as leader of the Nationals following Baird’s decision to ditch the ban.
Grant had not considered Racing Australia’s top job when contacted by The Age on Sunday, but that changed in the following 48 hours after he received calls from
industry participants encouraging him to explore the opportunity.
“Since our conversation I’ve been contacted by a number of people in racing and
across other fields in both NSW and Victoria, encouraging me to take on the role,”
Grant told The Age.
“I’m flattered by the approaches, I love my sport and racing, I have strong
relationships across the industry and am proud of what I was able to achieve for
the industry during my time in government.
“If the role is on offer I’d certainly consider it if I could see how I could make a
significant contribution to Racing Australia’s strategic goals and emerging
challenges, the wider industry and vital stakeholders.”
The former Nationals politician has also held the portfolios of police, emergency
services, justice and the arts, and owns shares in two horses, which race in country
NSW, with family members.
The role has been left vacant by former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell, who took
the job in January 2017 and resigned earlier this month due to professional
Racing Australia faces a power battle, with its board made up of 200 shares – 140
of which are split equally between Racing Victoria and Racing NSW and a further
36 to Racing Queensland, leaving nine shares each to Western Australia and
South Australia and six shares between Canberra, Tasmania and the Northern
Former NSW deputy premier Troy Grant. JAMES ALCOCK
Racing Australia chairman Greg Nichols – who is also Racing Victoria’s
representative on the board – told RSN radio on Wednesday that the boards of
Racing Victoria and Racing NSW could decide imminently whether they wanted to
relinquish some of their power back to Racing Australia.
“Consensus is the best way to build a model and if there are artificial barriers that
prevent consensus then that can’t be a good thing,” Nichols said.
“It’s certainly had an airing but I’m sure it could gather momentum in the near
Currently, it’s up to Nichols to try and convince all states to agree on industry
issues, but consensus has been difficult to achieve, particularly when it comes to
national uniformity on rules such as Regu-Mate, which has divided states.
“The power that Racing Australia is invested with is a gift of the PRAs [principal
racing authorities] ultimately. The commercial resource and power resides with
the PRAs,” he explained.
“They’re the ones that have got the money, they’re the ones that tax the punter
that fuels our sport. Essentially it’s their responsibility to do the operational
“If people delude themselves into thinking Racing Australia is the pre-eminent
body in terms of operational then I’m going to disappoint you. “Our role is to be strategic, devise national policy and ensure that policy is adhered to or as closely adhered to as possible.
“If we need more powers then it’s my task to go along and convince the remaining
states and Victoria as well … it’s my task to be the advocate to increase the
breadth of power Racing Australia has.”
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.