Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has given the strongest indication yet that racing will continue in Victoria following a media address this morning.
With thoroughbred racing the only mainstream sport in Australia that is currently operating, albeit under strict guidelines, Andrews was happy with the way racing was being conducted in Victoria.
He added that many people were getting joy out of the fact racing was continuing despite patrons, aside from licensed personnel, being unable to attend.
“Racing is without crowds and have put in a whole range of social distancing measures just like the construction industry,” Andrews said.
“Where you can manage a risk we think it’s appropriate.
“It’s go to be proportionate with what would be the public health benefit verse the cost in terms of jobs? Many people derive a lot of enjoyment (from racing) and heaven knows there is not a lot of that (enjoyment) going around at the moment.
“I've had to it put to me that people are getting quite a lot out of the fact that racing is still going ahead in a limited form.”
Andrews was quizzed about the gambling revenue his state office receives from gambling industry and his reply was emphatic.
“It’s about protecting jobs and a lot of people work in that (racing) industry," Andrews explained.
“On gambling revenue… there was an exemption provided to Crown (Casino) for a short period of time.
“The moment the Chief Health Officer was no longer confident that Crown could deliver and be safe and manage the risks of that sort of environment that exemption was withdrawn and the casino floor was closed.
“That whole venue is pretty much closed at the moment.”
Racing in Victoria will continue today with a nine-race card scheduled for Bendigo as well as midweek metropolitan racing at Sandown tomorrow afternoon.