December Newsletter

NEWSLETTER December 2016


On Sunday 18th December, New Zealand jockey Rebecca Black lost her life following a fall at Gore, NZ.

Rebecca has left behind three children, two of whom were at the races when the tragedy occurred.

Thoroughbred Racing NZ has established the Rebecca Black Trust” to provide support to her children, both now and into the future.

As a show of respect to Rebecca and support for her children, your AJA Directors agreed to make a significant contribution from the AJA, on behalf of ALL Australian Jockeys, to this Trust Fund.

As well, the AJA was also able to provide additional support to the NZ Jockeys Association and to Thoroughbred Racing NZ during this extremely difficult time.


Many of you will be aware that Ross Inglis is retiring as Chairman of our Association after 15 years outstanding service. Ross has been a passionate supporter for improving the rights and welfare of Australia’s Jockeys. He has been an excellent Chairman and has been instrumental in many of your Association’s achievements that have made a positive difference to the working conditions, safety and welfare of jockeys in Australia.

Although stepping down as Chairman, Ross will continue his involvement as a Trustee of your National Jockeys Trust. He will also continue in his role as a Director of the Victorian Jockeys Association.

Ross has made an outstanding contribution in his time as Chairman and, on behalf of all jockeys, current and past, we thank Ross for his efforts.


We are fortunate to have Des O’Keeffe take over the reins as AJA Chairman from Ross Inglis. Many of you are aware of Des’s work in recent years as General Manager of the AJA, a role he has combined with his position as Executive Officer of the Victorian Jockeys Association.

Des was confirmed as our in-coming Chairman by the AJA Directors at our recent Annual General Meeting. He will commence in the role from 1st January, 2017.


Paul Innes remains CEO of the AJA and will continue to work towards best possible outcomes on the major issues facing jockeys nationally. Paid Parental Leave, Media Rights, Jockeys’ Intellectual Property, Apprentice Training Standards and ensuring on-going support for the National Jockeys Trust are just a few of the issues on the table for 2017.

Bob Whyburn has been newly appointed as Assistant CEO. Bob is a Sydney lawyer who has been a Director of the AJA since 2012 and a Trustee of the NJT for the past two years. He has had a lifetime of involvement in the racing industry and, with his legal and business background, will be of great assistance to our CEO, Paul Innes.

Kevin Ring continues as the Work, Health & Safety Officer for the AJA. A former jockey, Kevin rode for 27 years. In his role with the AJA, he works tirelessly to identify, investigate and resolve safety issues facing jockeys. Kevin is also of great assistance in supporting injured jockeys in managing their Workers Compensation claims.


After much representation and urging from the AJA, Racing Australia’s long overdue review of the rule relating to use of the whip has seen some positive outcomes. The rule has been amended so the Stewards now have the ability to use “discretion” when considering breaches of the rule. Especially, they can now take into account the “totality” of use over the entire race, including the last 100 metres. A “trial” of Stewards discretion in recent months has seen a massive decrease in fines and suspensions for whip rule breaches.

The long running saga of riders’ eligibility for Paid Parental Leave is closer than ever to getting across the line. Federal Parliament is in summer recess but after sustained lobbying by the AJA of a number of Federal Ministers, we do anticipate a positive outcome in the first half of 2017.

Your National Jockeys Trust provided $459,184 to 52 applicants during the financial year 2015/2016. Riders around Australia should be extremely proud of the difference your Trust has been able to make to the lives of many current and former riders who have been left severely injured or ill and find themselves in need of some financial support. The Trust also provides on-going support to the families of riders that we have lost.


On behalf of the team at the AJA and your AJA Directors, we extend to you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas, and a safe, healthy and prosperous 2017.

Your 2017 AJA Directors

NSW: Kerrin McEvoy & Tony Crisafi

NT: Vanessa Arnott & Carl Spry

QLD: Pam O’Neill & Glen Prentice

SA: Simon Price & Tamara Zanker

TAS: David Pires & Kevin Ring

VIC: Stephen Baster & Des O’Keeffe

WA: Craig Staples & Steven Parnham