Dear Western Australian Trainers
The Western Australian Racing Trainers Association (WARTA) has been in close and constant contact with RWWA, other industry bodies and to a lesser extent the Australian Trainers Association (ATA), regarding the WA industry’s response to the COVID19 (or Corona virus) situation as it constantly evolves.
RWWA to their credit, are taking responsibility for the navigation of the whole of industry through what can only be described as a crisis. Taking into account the economic management of our industry as well as the social responsibility we must play our part in.
As you are aware both the federal and state governments have implemented a raft of measures aimed at firstly slowing the rate of community exposure to COVID19, so that our health system has the best opportunity to help the greater number in the community particularly the most vulnerable, survive. Then providing a framework for economic recovery to be hastened across the country.
In doing so this has placed limitations on race meetings and attendances for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately this will mean the loss of a number of community club meetings in 2020 and severe restrictions on country, provincial and metropolitan race clubs, owners, participants and the public.
As a major economic contributor, the racing industry has its part to play in all of this by ensuring that we can continue to operate for as long as possible, providing jobs and financial flow through the economy and to a lesser extent as an outlet for sport and racing fans while other sporting pursuits are so severely restricted.
RWWA’s commitment is to keep racing running for as long and as well as possible, however this cannot be guaranteed beyond the short term, depending on the rate of spread of the virus through the community and for as long as we can keep participants directly involved in the running of race days disease free.
Please understand that RWWA can only control so much, and if a shutdown of racing were to occur for whatever period, the financial implications for all of us will be dire. Many businesses, trainers included will not survive or will take forever to recover financially. Turnover and therefore RWWA’s ability to sustain the industry will be greatly diminished and government assistance will almost certainly be directed elsewhere in the short to medium term.
To that end, we as trainers have a responsibility to our own businesses, staff and owners as well as the sport more broadly to maintain certain practices and protocols to minimize the risk of infection to any person directly involved in racing. Obviously we also have a responsibility to our family, friends and wider society as well, in this almost unprecedented situation.
I ask that you all review your bio security protocols, this time not so much for the horses but for human to human contact and spread. Please take the time to understand the new race, trial and track work protocols as they are released and ensure that you, your staff and clients strictly adhere to them.
WARTA is creating a template of suggested practices that may assist trainers going forward, particularly around bio security and this will be emailed to all WA trainers in coming days. We continue to have constant contact and regular meetings with the RWWA administration and executive and will be working on your behalf to advocate for training businesses as decisions are made around the operation of thoroughbred racing in WA over the coming months.
In the meantime I wish you all the very best and good luck as we confront these most uncertain times.