The Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner
In March 2008 the Victorian Government appointed Judge Gordon Lewis AM, to lead discussions with racing industry controlling bodies and other stakeholders on options for possible changes to the structure of racing integrity assurance services in the Victorian racing industry.
In providing his findings to the Government, Judge Lewis identified avenues for potential reform, making 63 individual recommendations for changes to integrity assurance practices and processes in the Victorian racing industry.
Following the release of the ‘Lewis Report’, the Government established a joint Victorian Government and Victorian Racing Industry Implementation Working Party (IWP), chaired by the Department of Justice & Regulation and involving representatives from Victoria Police and the three racing codes, to consider the recommendations and report on their implementation.
All 63 recommendations included in the Lewis Report were strongly supported by the Implementation Working Party, with the vast majority to be implemented in full and alternative solutions agreed on others, in consultation with Judge Lewis.
In short, the Lewis Report recommended that whilst the controlling bodies should continue to govern their codes, Victoria would be best served by strengthening those arrangements by providing for independent oversight of integrity related issues. The Report recommended the creation of a Racing Integrity Commissioner with stand alone, independent statutory powers and a broad charter associated with integrity assurance.
In September 2009 the Government enacted the Racing Legislation Amendment (Racing Integrity Assurance) Act 2009 (Vic) in order to implement Judge Lewis's key recommendations to:
- create the position of the Racing Integrity Commissioner;
- establish new Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Boards for Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and Harness Racing Victoria (HRV); and
- repeal the Racing Appeals Tribunal.