NSW deputy premier Troy Grant says his decision to stand down the board of Greyhound Racing NSW was prompted by the ‘horrifying, shocking and surprising’ allegations of live baiting revealed this week.
Mr Grant, who is also racing minister, announced on Thursday morning that the GRNSW board had agreed to ‘formally disband’ and refer their powers to an interim chief executive, Paul Newson.
Mr Newson is currently head of the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing and replaces Brent Hogan who has also agreed to step down.
Mr Newson will continue the day-to-day to running of GRNSW until a review of the authority is finalised by retired High Court Justice Michael McHugh.
Mr Grant says the decision to stand down the board was made following revelations of live baiting on ABC television, which had ‘surprised, shocked and horrified’ him.
‘It’s abhorrent, totally unacceptable, it’s criminal’ Mr Grant told ABC Radio.
‘The community had lost confidence in the greyhound industry in NSW after the atrocious revelations on Monday night, there’s been a blight and innuendo across the industry.’
Mr Grant’s action comes after the Four Corners9 program on Monday screened secret vision of greyhound trainers tying live piglets, rabbits and possums to mechanical lures – a practice banned in the industry.
At least seven NSW greyhound trainers have been stood down following the report.
Mr Grant says RSPCA NSW chief executive Steve Coleman, a NSW Police representative, and chairman of the Greyhound Racing Industry Consultation Group, Ron Arnold, will join Justice McHugh’s review into the greyhound industry.
‘The review will develop a new model of governance to ensure the integrity of the industry and the abhorrent practice of live baiting is stamped out for good,’ Mr Grant said in a statement.
However Mr Grant defended his department.
Mr Grant said the policing and operations of greyhound racing was the responsibility of GRNSW, while the government looked after the legislative and regulatory side of the industry.
He he said he hoped the new review team would improve the greyhound industry.
‘It’s their job to inform the government on every and any way that this industry can recover – how it can be structured.
‘This is a chance to have clear air in the current administration,’ he told ABC Radio.