NSW Minister for Racing Paul Toole has met with northern rivers greyhound racing clubs to discuss the industry’s future ahead of the NSW Government’s response to the recently released Greyhound Industry Reform Panel report.
The panel, which was headed by former NSW premier Morris Iemma, was set up after former Premier Mike Baird sensationally backflipped on banning the industry last year.
Mr Baird had imposed a ban on greyhound racing in July 2016 in response to the Special Inquiry into Greyhound Racing in NSW.
The inquiry had uncovered evidence of widespread live baiting and other illegal activities including the administration of prohibited substances. Baird overturned the ban in October following protests.
Since then, the panel has provided 122 recommendations to ‘restore public trust in the industry’.
It has recommended a new best practice governance structure that separates commercial and regulatory functions by establishing a Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission with broad investigative powers.
It also supports an enforceable code of practice for greyhound welfare, whole-of-life registration and tracking of dogs so their whereabouts are known, licensing and accreditation requirements for all industry participants, and restrictions on the keeping of small animals on properties where greyhounds are kept.
During his northern rivers visit, Mr Toole said the government had made it clear that the industry was to be given a real chance of reform but it was important that the industry meets community expectations.
‘Like many other clubs across the state, for those in the Lismore and Casino clubs it’s more than just an income or hobby, the greyhounds they care for and train are part of their families,’ Mr Toole said.
‘We are currently considering the 122 recommendations made by the reform panel and I encourage everyone to read the report and have their say.’
Member for Lismore Thomas George said he was pleased Mr Toole was talking to local greyhound clubs about the industry’s future.
‘Most people in the greyhound industry do the right thing, that’s why the NSW Government is committed to the future of the sport,’ Mr George said.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis said greyhound racing is a very significant industry in regional areas.
‘The Northern Rivers region has four greyhound clubs and contributes an enormous $14.3 million annually to the local economy,’ Mr Gulaptis said.