NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers’ Association Chief Executive Brenton Scott says the industry has a viable future in the state, after the release of the NSW Greyhound Industry Reform Panel’s report on Thursday.
The Panel, led by former Premier Morris Iemma, was tasked with making a series of recommendations to the government to ensure the greyhound industry could survive with appropriate welfare and structural measures in place.
Scott said the Reform Panel’s recommendations are largely consistent with the commitments the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance made to NSW Government last year.
“The Alliance has always been genuinely and deeply committed to stronger regulation and strict animal welfare standards for the good of our industry into the future,” Scott said.
“The industry has been changing and continues to actively change.
“We are committed to strong animal welfare standards, best practice compliance, appropriate policing and investigative powers being central to our governance framework.
Included in the recommendations was the creation of an integrity body, which will run separate to the commercial arm of the sport, which will be managed by GRNSW. Scott said this initiative would help restore community faith in the sport.
“The clear separation of commercial and integrity functions, as outlined in the recommendations, will ensure the reputation and risk issues faced by the industry can be put firmly in the past.
“I am confident that the industry and its participants can regain community trust with the implementation of the Reform Panel’s recommendations.
“The aim was to put in place reforms that would allow the sport to operate effectively and efficiently and build on the substantial employment levels and $350m annual economic contribution we provide to the State of NSW.”
The recommendations also focused on improving the animal welfare outcomes of the industry, including whole life tracking of every greyhound pup born and stricter licensing regimes for owners, trainers, breeders, rearers, educators and ‘muscle men’ – to be known as greyhound health assistants.
Part of the report focuses on the wagering model in place for the industry, with grave concerns it deprives the industry of funds it is entitled to under the intercode and tax parity agreements.
“The recommendations of the Reform Panel provide broad guidance in terms of reform principles but encourage and empower the industry to partner and engage in determining how best to ensure commercial viability is achieved whilst ensuring it meets its commitments to animal welfare and whole of lifecycle tracking and care,” Scott said.
“Importantly, the inequity in our wagering funding model has been clearly identified by the Panel, with firm recommendations for Government intervention, and the industry looks forward to working with the Government as this matter is further considered and resolved.”
With the report now publicly available, Scott says participants can address their concerns and provide any positive or negative feedback on the recommendations.
“The industry will now engage in a collaborative process with deeper analysis and consideration of the Panel’s recommendations being the next step for all industry participants.
“All input from industry participants will be acknowledged, and concerns addressed by the Alliance. The Government has now opened this report up for consultation and we encourage all interested parties to closely review it and provide feedback.
“The collaboration between all parties has been very encouraging, good progress has been made, there is much more to do but achieving this milestone augurs well for a sustainable future for Greyhound Racing in NSW.”
The Greyhound Racing Industry Reform Panel was announced after the NSW government’s decision to reverse the greyhound racing ban.