The Tasmanian government could be set to announce as early as Friday a date to lift the statewide racing ban.
Premier Peter Gutwein has accepted the industry's rescue proposal that includes strict protocols over splitting Tasmania into two regional zones for race meetings.
But the immediate future of all thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing in the state has been left in the hands of Tasmania's Director of Public Health.
Dr Mark Veitch will decide whether a drip-feed return to the race track from May 15 should be ratified based on health grounds amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tasracing submission would exclude meetings on the North-West and force animals from the coast to race only in either Launceston or Hobart without their trainers.
The controversial issue has stirred up fierce debate in state parliament on Thursday in response to opposition racing spokesperson David O'Byrne grilling the Premier.
"I have read the plan they have put forward and it is detailed, I accept that, but first and foremost we need to deal with the North-West outbreak," Gutwein said.
"I am hopeful that by [Friday], subject to case numbers remaining low, we can get a positive decision about removing the additional restrictions on the North-West coast.
"That is the first step and then we can look, based on public health advice, at what the timing is of the resumption of racing.
"I want to make it clear to the racing industry we will be guided by public health advice, as all of us should be, as difficult as it may be."
Tasracing banned crowds at race meetings early on and enforced restrictions on strict social distancing in the workplace at both the training facilities and on course.
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But the government acting on health advice closed the tracks on April 3 for 28 days before extending the ban for a further fortnight.
The racing industry injects more than $100 million into the state economy annually and also supports more 5000 people in rural and regional communities in Tasmania.
Gutwein told parliament more revenue was going back into the industry, but prioritised that animal welfare and appropriate checks and balances had to be put in place to best support the industry's longevity.
"I can understand the industry's concern and I must admit that every weekend when they're watching racing occur in other parts of the country, it is difficult for them to understand and accept that they are not able to race," he said.
"But front and centre of our thinking in protecting Tasmanians always has, and at its very genesis, been the fact we have an older, more vulnerable population."
Gutwein reiterated that with up to 150 people from all over the state, including the North-West coast, being at the one track at the one time, racing was a "public health risk" waiting to happen.
"The outbreak there, if racing had continued, was a much higher risk that could have occurred with the risk of transference of the disease around the state," he said.
O'Byrne told the Premier the racing fraternity could not understand why their industry was treated differently to other commercial sectors.
Regardless of public health advice, O'Byrne said the government had to commit to a date to resume racing in line with the mainland states.
"The racing industry is on its knees. Jobs have been lost and jockeys, trainers and animals are moving to the mainland, further undermining the future sustainability of the industry," O'Byrne said.
"The industry acknowledges and supports necessary measures taken to protect the public health during this health crisis, but question why the decision was made to shut them down when places in retail like Bunnings and K-Mart remain open?"
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