Who is the Racing Integrity Commissioner?
Mr Sal Perna was appointed Victoria's inaugural Racing Integrity Commissioner in March 2010 for an initial period of two years. His term has since been extended until February 2021.
What is the role of the Racing Integrity Commissioner?
The Racing Integrity Commissioner was established under the Racing Act 1958 (Vic) to provide independent oversight of integrity within all three racing codes – thoroughbred, harness and greyhounds – and perform various functions to enable public confidence in the integrity of the Victorian Racing Industry.
Who does the Racing Integrity Commissioner report to?
The Racing Integrity Commissioner is a statutory authority that reports to Parliament through the Minister for Racing.
The Commissioner provides an annual report to the Minister on the performance of his functions or the exercise of his powers, and integrity related issues that the Commissioner determines to be in the public interest to be tabled in Parliament.
The Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner is supported in an administrative capacity by the Department of Justice & Regulation.
What are the Racing Integrity Commissioner's functions?
The Racing Act sets out the various functions of the Commissioner. These functions are to:
- conduct annual audits of the internal integrity processes and systems and animal welfare processes and systems (where integrity related), in whole or in part, of Racing Victoria Limited (RVL), Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) (the controlling bodies), in areas identified:
- by the Commissioner; or
- by the Commissioner in consultation with each controlling body;
- conduct audits outside the subject matter of an annual audit at the request of a controlling body;
- investigate complaints made about the integrity processes and systems and some welfare processes and systems (where integrity related) of a controlling body;
- refer complaints about the integrity processes and systems of a controlling body to:
- Victoria Police if the complaint relates to a criminal matter;
- the relevant controlling body if the complaint relates to an alleged or apparent contravention of the rules of a controlling body;
- the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation if the complaint relates to an alleged or apparent contravention of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003;
- the relevant government agency if the complaint relates to an alleged or apparent contravention of any Act or subordinate instrument in connection with the integrity of racing; or
- the Integrity Sub-Committee (recently replaced by the Integrity Council) of the relevant controlling body if the complaint relates to an internal integrity matter;
- investigate matters referred by the Minister or a controlling body;
- report the findings of any investigations conducted into complaints that have not been referred to other bodies to:
- the person who made the complaint; and
- with or without identifying the person who made the complaint or the person who is subject of the complaint, the Minister or the relevant controlling body (as the Commissioner considers appropriate);
- conduct own motion inquiries that do not relate to any specific complaint and may include an investigation into systemic issues in racing;
- make recommendations (if appropriate) following the investigation of any complaint, inquiry or matter to (as the Commissioner considers appropriate):
- the Minister; or
- the relevant controlling body;
- direct a Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board to hear and determine an appeal made by a person against a penalty imposed on the person under the rules of a controlling body if:
- the penalty imposed is a fine of not more than $250; and
- the Commissioner considers that it is in the public interest for the appeal to be heard; and
- perform any other functions conferred on the Commissioner under the Racing Act.
The Commissioner may advise the Minister of any failure by a controlling body to implement or act on a recommendation made if:
- before advising the Minister, the Commissioner notifies the controlling body of his intention to advise the Minister of such failure to implement or act on a recommendation; and
- the Commissioner advises the controlling body that it may, within 14 days of receiving the notification, respond in writing to the Commissioner in respect of that notification, such response to be provided to the Minister by the Commissioner.
In carrying out his functions, the Commissioner also:
- provides advice on integrity across the three codes and the racing industry;
- liaises with the racing industry regarding policies and practices relating to integrity; and
- facilitates the exchange of information and strengthens relations between the controlling bodies and other agencies as appropriate.
Who are the racing industry controlling bodies?
There are three controlling bodies responsible for the development, promotion and management of the conduct of the respective racing codes in Victoria.
Who can provide information or lodge a complaint to the Racing Integrity Commissioner?
The Commissioner welcomes the reporting of integrity related information from any person, whether a member of the general public or members of the racing industry.
What is considered 'integrity related'?
The meaning of 'integrity related' as applied to the Commissioner’s role is broad and not limited to alleged breaches of the rules of racing or other general matters concerning possible breaches of integrity principles in the racing industry. 'Integrity related information' may include a wide array of behaviours that may or may not be considered criminal or corrupt. The Commissioner will consider each complaint on its merits and make a decision as to whether the subject of a complaint is an 'integrity related' matter and therefore appropriate for investigation or referral to another government agency for investigation. Matters associated with crime and corruption are certainly considered to be ‘integrity related’.
How can I report an integrity related issue?
Information about integrity related issues within the Victorian racing industry may be reported directly to the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner.
Post: Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner
PO Box 24034, Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3001
Fax: + 61 3 8684 7778
How can I make a complaint or provide information?
Should you wish to make a complaint or provide information regarding an integrity related issue to the Commissioner, you can contact the office;
Post: Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner
PO Box 24034, Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3001
Fax: + 61 3 8684 7778
Can I remain anonymous?
Yes. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may report an integrity related issue within the Victorian Racing Industry via the Racing Integrity Hotline.
Racing Integrity Hotline: 1300 227 225
Post: Racing Integrity c/o STOPline
Locked Bag 8, Hawthorn, Vic 3122
Fax: + 61 3 9882 4480
The Racing Integrity Hotline is run by STOPline; an independent, confidential and impartial disclosure management service which allows individuals to report corrupt or improper conduct anonymously without the fear of reprisal.
Should you wish to remain anonymous when contacting the Racing Integrity Hotline you will be issued with a confidential code and password for future reference. If requested, your identity will not be provided to the Commissioner or his office.
You may also request that your identity be ‘protected’ by the Commissioner when you have direct contact with his office. In this case, your identity will not be shared outside of the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner.
What happens to the information I provide to the Commissioner?
Any integrity related information provided to the Racing Integrity Commissioner will be treated in the strictest confidence and will be handled accordingly.
The Racing Integrity Commissioner seeks to ensure that all integrity issues raised are investigated in a proper and thorough manner. However, sometimes it may be appropriate to pass the information provided (or part of the information) on to another agency more relevant to investigate the matter.
The Racing Integrity Commissioner may only disclose integrity related information to a limited number of bodies and persons, including:
- A racing controlling body i.e. Racing Victoria Limited, Harness Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing Victoria
- A Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board;
- Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR);
- Victoria Police;
- Australian Federal Police (AFP);
- The Minister for Racing;
- The Independent Broad-based Anti Corruption Commission (IBAC);
- The Victorian Inspectorate;
- A person that controls, organises or administers an approved betting event;
- Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC);
- Australian Taxation Office (ATO);
- Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC);
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC);
- Australian Border Force (Customs);
- Ombudsman Victoria;
- Therapeutic Goods Administration;
- Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA);
- Racing Australia;
- Harness Racing Australia;
- Greyhound Racing Australasia;
- Northern Territory Racing Commission;
- Thoroughbred Racing Northern Territory;
- ACT Gambling and Racing Commission;
- Racing Queensland Limited;
- Queensland All Codes Industry Board;
- Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner;
- Racing New South Wales;
- Harness Racing New South Wales;
- Greyhound Racing New South Wales;
- Thoroughbred Racing South Australia;
- Harness Racing South Australia;
- Greyhound Racing South Australia;
- Racing and Wagering Western Australia;
- Director of Racing Tasmania.
The Racing Integrity Commissioner may only disclose certain information when referring integrity related information to other government agencies for investigation. This information may include, but is not limited to:
- the relevant rules of racing or laws the information relates to;
- the nature of the alleged breach of these rules or laws; and
- as appropriate, the identities of the persons alleged to be in breach of these rules or laws.
Can I find out about the progress of an investigation?
Due to operational constraints it may not be possible for the Racing Integrity Commissioner to provide progress reports to a complainant during the course of an investigation, as this action may jeopardise the effectiveness of the investigation.
Complainants who provide information to the Officer of the Racing Integrity Commissioner via the Racing Integrity Hotline may contact the hotline providers as arranged.
Can I find out the outcome of an investigation?
When an issue has been investigated directly by the Racing Integrity Commissioner, the Commissioner will advise the outcome of his investigation to the person who made the complaint, and may report the findings of any investigations conducted to the Minister or the relevant industry controlling body, with or without identifying the person that made the complaint, as the Commissioner considers appropriate.
How do I make a complaint about the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner?
The Racing Integrity Commissioner endeavours to resolve complaints arising from the performance of his functions directly with a complainant in the first instance. Should you be dissatisfied with the Commissioner's performance, the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner will seek to assist you by providing advice as to the relevant external review options available.
Does the Racing Integrity Commissioner handle all racing related matters?
No. The Commissioner only has powers and functions that relate to ‘integrity related’ matters. These generally do not include racing matters such as licensing, registration, ownership disputes, handicapping, nominations, selections, gradings and other key functions of the controlling bodies. Information, enquiries or complaints regarding these aspects will only be relevant to the Commissioner if they are integrity related e.g. they include allegations of crime or corruption.