Former deputy premier considering Racing Australia top job

“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 reasons.

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 Territory.

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.

Racing Australia chairman Greg Nichols.Credit:Simon Schluter

“It’s certainly had an airing but I’m sure it could gather momentum in the near future.”

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 aspect.

“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.”

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