Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) is the governing body responsible for regulating the WA racing sector.

Racing is subject to strict governance and integrity measures across the state. At RWWA, we have a team of people dedicated to safeguard the wellbeing of the equine and canine athletes of this sport.

This is how we do it.

Regulation

It is often thought that the industry is self-regulated, however this is not the case. The Western Australian racing industry is regulated by statute (RWWA Act 2003) and RWWA with primary oversight of all functions relating to integrity (which includes welfare) vested with the Integrity Assurance Committee, whose membership is comprised of independent Directors, not industry associated members. Both the Rules of Racing and RWWA’s policies prohibit ownership of a racing animal if an individual has responsibility to regulation, for example stewards and other racing officials are not able own or have pecuniary interests. Therefore, the industry is not self-regulated, as RWWA is the State appointed regulator for the racing codes in Western Australia.

Rules of Racing

The industry has ‘Rules of Racing’ in place to protect all racing animals. These are effectively laws that regulate the action of all people within the industry. The racing industry is also subject to the same legislation that governs welfare in WA, the Animal Welfare Act 2002. By comparison the Rules of Racing are much more prescriptive, outlining the requirements for many different areas of animal care. They are also able to be enforced strictly and rapidly, without reliance on the court system.

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Stewards

Stewards are the ‘police’ of the industry and have the power to strictly enforce the Rules of Racing, both on and off the track. Stewards can, at any time, come on to a property where racing animals are kept. Unannounced kennel inspections are regularly carried out to check on racing animals. Stewards’ powers as prescribed within the RWWA Act 2003, are more extensive than those provided to the police, and include the power to compel people to give evidence, admit entry and answer questions.

Penalties

Stewards can apply severe penalties to those who break the rules, including substantial fines and disqualifications. Animal welfare is taken very seriously when it comes to penalties. For example, stewards will impose fines from $300-$1,000 if a greyhound is found to have any fleas or ticks. If animal welfare is seriously compromised, stewards can impose fines of up to $100,000 or remove people from continuing to own or train racing animals through cancellations of licenses or disqualifications (either permanently or for a period of time). WA is recognised nationally as imposing the highest penalties compared to other states.

Licensing & Registration

All people in the industry are licenced or registered and must undergo a thorough examination prior to being approved. Racing animals must also be registered and are tracked during all stages of their racing careers. This ensures we know exactly who and what racing animals are in the industry at all times. Stewards can refuse to grant a licence or register a person.

Specialised Investigators

Outside of the stewards, there is a specialised Racing Investigations Unit, which investigates any suspected welfare concerns or wrongdoing by people in the industry. People are encouraged to report any concerns they may have and are able to remain anonymous.

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