Jenny - Clean

IN his popular column, ‘SILKS & SADDLES,’ published by the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER, respected racing writer TERRY BUTTS reports on a bid by Rockhampton Trainers’ Association president Jim Rundle to have the city-based ATA (Queensland branch) work with his organization on the controversial issue of a Workers’ Compensation Levy.

There are growing concerns among country trainers that their city cousins, especially a handful of ‘fat cats,’ are attempting to dictate to their mates at Racing Queensland how the Levy will work.

Butts also reports on the successful Rockhampton carnival and how a new star of country racing in Queensland has emerged.

Here is his column, a day earlier this week, to compensate for the lateness of the last edition:  

 

CONTENTIOUS ISSUE OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LEVY ABOUT TO INTENSIFY

THE contentious issue of the Workers’ Compensation Levy, payable by trainers in Queensland, is far from settled – and, in fact, is set to intensify.

Perhaps it might be time for the powers that be, and that includes the LNP Government, to listen to Rockhampton Trainers’ Association president Jim Rundle.

That especially includes a couple of those ‘fat cat’ Brisbane-based trainers (and at least one on the Gold Coast) who think they can run the show and can dictate how the Workers’ Comp should be levied.

But firstly, before any changes to the system are made, Racing Queensland has a duty to make sure all trainers in the State are consulted and informed, says Mr Rundle – on any issue for that matter.

Rundle suggests the Australian Trainers’ Association (Queensland) and the RTA make a joint submission to Racing Queensland for a budget allocation to fund a full-time trainers’ representative.

“Racing Queensland will quickly try to rule this out citing another impost on the budget but it is quite common for the three levels of government to fund industry bodies.

“I really think it is essential,” he said.

 

JIM RUNDLE LEADS THE WAY WITH RTA FIGHTING FOR RIGHTS OF COUNTRY TRAINERS

ON the vexed question of Workers’ Compensation, Mr Rundle doesn’t mix his words.

“I don’t believe anyone has a good handle on how it works,” he said.

He points out that track-work riders are considered contractors, do not qualify for Workers’ Comp and must have their own insurance.

Trouble is however they are virtually uninsurable – no-one one will touch them.

Mr Rundle talks of one rider who lodged a claim with Workers’ Comp, expecting to be told he was not eligible as he was a contractor.

But Workers’ Comp went to the ATO for a definition of a ‘contractor’ and was told the rider was considered an employee of the trainer he rode for, and could make a claim against the trainer’s policy.

But the trainer had paid only $10 for one horse. The rider’s claim was for lost income for all the other horses he rode work.

They are still working it out.

 

OTHER AREAS OF CONCERN INVOLVING LIMITED COVER FOR APPRENTICES

In other areas of concern, Mr Rundle points out that apprentices have only limited cover.

And contrary to general belief, jockeys are only partially covered and he warns that they could be a liability on a trainer’s Workers’ Compensation policy.

While workers are covered in all other industry going to and from work, jockeys are not. They are covered only after they arrive at the track.

Mr Rundle says the RTA will support any measure that helps to reinforce a strong Workplace, Health and Safety culture.

But he has grave concerns about the push to introduce a starter’s fee levy, as proposed by the ATA and seemingly gaining support from RQ.

He said claims by the larger trainers they are unfairly paying excessive premiums are unsubstantiated.

 

NEITHER RQ NOR ATA HAVE PROVIDED COMPREHENSIVE DATA TO BACK THEIR CLAIMS

“NEITHER RQ nor the ATA have ever been able to put forward any comprehensive research data to back that claim,” said Mr Rundle.

“The large trainers, pushing for the levy, have not been able to produce any data which benchmarks their premiums against other industries employing staff with similar payrolls to show how their treatment is unfair.”

And nor has ATA or RQ published any data or statistics to support the claim that smaller trainers are not paying ‘fair’ premiums.

“Debate in this area is mainly based on innuendo and rumor,” he said.

The whole issue is equity.

All trainers, big and small, pay $300 for a license.

Is that fair?

Those trainers who have 1,000 starters a year (including trials) pay $2.90 per horse. Small hobby trainers with only five runners pay $100 per horse.

Is that fair?

And finally back to the proposal to introduce a starting fee levy to help the big trainers with their Workers’ Compensation liability.

The RTA suggests that if a fee was needed to fund Workers’ Compensation, maybe it should come from the trainer’s prizemoney commission.

That way, at least, it is being paid by the users.

And yes, I can hear the bellows in Vanuatu.

 

ROCKHAMPTON CARNIVAL UNEARTHS NEW STAR IN OUR BOY MALARCHI

I AM writing the column this week from sunny Vanuatu – a welcome change after a somewhat chilly (but cheery) few days in Rockhampton for the carnival.

Our Boy Malarchi – what a horse!

I had seen him win at Mackay in mediocre company by six lengths and he looked good. But his domination of the sprinters in the Rocky Newmarket last Thursday was one of the most impressive if not THE most impressive win I have witnessed in country Queensland.

He will just WIN in Brisbane or Sydney or wherever his popular trainer Johnny O’Sing elects to go.

Fortunately for North Queenslanders aspiring to win the Cleveland Bay or Mackay Newmarket, Our Boy Malarchi will be in the paddock.

He pulled up just a tad scratchy after recording his ninth successive win last week and a planned trip to Townsville will not eventuate.

He is far too precious. And no-one doubted Adrian Coome when he declared: “He is the best I have ever ridden.”

It was a great carnival – especially for trainers Lawrie Mayfield-Smith (three runners for three winners); ex Kiwi Graham Pollock (two winners on Cup day); and jockey Tony Pattillo who followed up his Ipswich Cup success with a win in the Rockhampton Cup on Danagaze, landing a fortune in bets after firming from $20 to $8.

Danagaze heads north to Townsville after two previous unsuccessful ventures to Cluden but judged by Saturday’s win age certainly has not wearied him.

Last year’s Mackay Cup winner Prussian Secret will follow a similar plan this year after his pleasing fourths. He is also likely to continue on to Townsville.

 

COLUMN COURTESY OF TERRY BUTTS AND THE NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER, one of Australia's leading rural newspapers.

TERRY BUTTS can be contacted by e-mailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 

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