Lone chap's protest
THREE years after the horse racing industry came to a shuddering halt through an outbreak of the equine influenza virus, one Grafton man is still fighting what he believes was a lack of accountability and rorting of the government assistance scheme introduced to help the horse industry through the crisis.
Yesterday he took that campaign to the streets with a one-man protest near the Grafton Bridge during peak hour traffic and said he would be back rain, hail or sunshine today and tomorrow to get his point across.
And if that doesn’t get the attention he believes the issue deserves, he will head to Sydney to do the same.
Joseph Golden does not like to give up.
Soon after the Federal Government introduced the Commercial Horse Allowance Payment Scheme (CHAPS) in 2008, Mr Golden raised concerns that rorting was occurring in the taxpayer funded scheme.
And despite taking the issue to members of the State and Federal parliaments, to police and to Racing NSW, he feels his complaint has never been effectively investigated.
Mr Golden, an accountant, claimed up to 50% of the payments made under the scheme would have been rorted.
“The concept was right, but there was no duty of care in place for the money,” he said.
Racing NSW acting CEO Keith Bulloch said he was well aware of Mr Golden’s claims, and they had been investigated.
“There was not enough evidence to go ahead with anything,” he said.
“There were no findings made and we consider the matter closed.
“There were a number of CHAPS matters. Some were proven and money had to be paid back, but in these (Mr Golden’s) cases there were no findings made.”
He said Mr Golden had been called to a Racing NSW licensing hearing over the non-payment of a fee for scratching a horse.