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'Total lack of communication' Tamworth Jockey Club in turmoil as Board stands aside for inquiry


Supplied: Tamworth Jockey Club Facebook

In a statement released today Racing NSW has confirmed an inquiry has commenced into the operations of Tamworth Jockey Club.


This comes just one day after Board Members Garry Johson, Cheryl Miller, Suzanne Coventry, Ian Binney, David Bastable and Andrew Shiels stepped aside from their positions directing the club.


An administrator who is yet to be named will be appointed whilst the inquiry ensues.


A statement from Racing NSW said the inquiry will focus on non-compliance of minimum standards for tendering and procurement processes.


"Racing NSW’s Minimum Standards and Conditions of Registration for NSW Thoroughbred Race Clubs include stringent requirements in respect of tendering and procurement process for any significant expenditure by Race Clubs and that is the current focus of Racing NSW’s inquiry."


Minister for Racing Kevin Anderson said the inquiry relates to transactions between Tamworth Jockey Club and a third party.


"The administrator will help fix the ongoing problems the club is facing at the moment," Mr Anderson said.


The recently confirmed inquiry is not the first issue but the culmination of a series of events.


The two race meets scheduled for Tamworth Jockey Club in 2020 were transferred to Gunnedah and Armidale, following track damage that was deemed unsafe for racing.


Following the loss of these two races, Tamworth Jockey Club let go of their Track Manager and subsequently the President of the Board Barry Burnett resigned with a scathing letter.


Mr Burnett, who had only been President for around 6 months, said he was looking forward to growing the club, however, spent weeks leading up to his resignation questioning the expectation of his role.


In his resignation letter, Mr Burnett lamented a 'total lack of communication' at the Club and mentioned several significant decisions of which he had not been consulted or advised.


Mr Burnett said it became apparent he no longer enjoyed the confidence of senior executives.


Financial documents from Tamworth Jockey Club's Annual General Meeting reveal the club's main source of revenue is funding from their peak body Racing NSW.


In fact, before June 2020 Tamworth Jockey Club, Racing NSW and a third-party CDRF pooled funding and paid almost half a million dollars for drainage works eventually completed in October 2020.


With $456,588.50 plus GST spent on track work in October, it begs the question of why two races were subsequently moved in December?


Wayne Woods the General Manager of Tamworth Jockey Club confirmed Dave Hodgson, Racing NSW Manager of Track Maintenance, will be in Tamworth on Wednesday 6th January to assess the track damage and get it up and running in time for the meet scheduled on January 21st.


Minister for Racing and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said he hopes all future race meets will go ahead as planned.


"We need that to continue because there are owners and trainers, not only in Tamworth but across the state, that rely on this facility to be operating," said Mr Anderson.


Mr Anderson and Racing NSW said they will wait for the inquiry to be completed before any make further comments.