Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance welcomes Reform Panel report

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.

Past Discussion

  1. The Gov’t cannot accept all the recommendations and ignore the ICA. Dont sign up to any agreement UNLESS the Gov”t changes the Inter Code Agreement.

  2. Inter code agreement will never be overturned people need to understand that if the government get legislation to overturn the intercode every business in NSW that’s ever had a dodgy deal will seek to have it overturned never going to happen. What does need to happen is the industry get its fair share of the tax parody this is a must and something that can be achieved. From what I have been told the racing minister will be taking feedback from the participants and not everything in the report will be concrete

  3. Hi Matt, Fair comment. The racing wagering income is decreasing compared to the overall holdings on all wagering and gaming adventures in Australia and as such there are some dangers in totally unpicking the 99 years agreement (deceleration).

    The effect of the cross subsidisation of the greyhounds markets share to the other codes has seen over the last 17 years has seen the horse codes having about an accumulated million from the greyhounds for them to use partly or fully in the broader public interest projects that attract extra funding from the tax parody future fund.

    Therefore if the funding circumstances do not change then the greyhounds will continue on a deceleration formula that will reduce their percentage of the tax parody fund to a lower rate than the 10% now allocated.

    For the first five years of the tax parody fund million is available to the combined racing codes of which the greyhounds are allocated 10%.

    The following 5 years payments are estimated at the full rate of aprox million per year equalling million of which under the current arrangements the greyhounds will receive a reduced percentage.

    To allow the unintentional rate of deceleration that will be evident. I have suggested that the greyhounds receive a first charge payment from the fund for animal welfare of say million in each 5 year period.

    So the payment per year from the future fund would be 

    million

    less first charge to the greyhound welfare (catch up) million.

    For distribution to codes (say at the current rate)

    million, 

    million to greyhounds million combined horses.

    Actual payments

    million

    million to Greyhounds 63 million to horses.

    Greyhounds actual percentage 27%.

    In twenty years the million cross subsidy to the horses would have been extinguished and the actual rate percentage of payments to the greyhounds would have accelerated well past the 10% currently assessed.

    A review could be placed on the first charge payments to the greyhounds  after the twenty years following the current five year period in play.

    The inter code and the intra code for that matter needs to be under constant review as well. The greyhounds need to make commercial advanatages out of providing welfare infrastructure and services as well.

  4. There is nothing to stop them passing legislation to change this agreement – they banned the industry with a facebook announcement. Any business with a dodgy deal can take action now if they want to.  It may be easier to change the tax parody but there is nothing except fear of backlash from the horse industry preventing them from putting in new legislation.

  5. Deborah555 The backlash that the Government feared from legislating out contract arrangements with racing was that the horses would be eligible to compensation for loss.(constitutional requirement). This is why the Government had an embargo on two of the conditions exposing the Government to compensation in the arrangements. 

    The legislation banning the greyhounds was designed to bi pass the Governments obligations to pay compensation to the greyhounds by an attempt to bi pass the agreements.

    The Government can revise their attitude that “they cannot swing a dead cat” and look at other ways they can fix up the agreements. In doing the above the Government will come into conflict with the much stronger gaming and liquor interests that they are beholden to much more than the racing.

    The new legislation will be subject to lobbying from many interests  and the greyhound participants need to be the front foot as well. A recent associated article in the Roar attracted over 200 replies so the public interest in the legislation will be considerable,

  6. John Tracey Deborah555  Thanks John – yes I am sure there will be considerable interest- there is nothing like money to get people in action. I think the almost total lack of support from the horse industry during the ban was concern that McHugh had flagged the need to redistribute money to the greyhounds in his report.The government appeared to have no problem organising themselves to pay as little compensation as they possibly could to the greyhound people .

  7. Deborah555 John Tracey At the grass root levels the horses were supportive of the greyhounds but at the higher levels the horses probably saw that 100% of the inter code money was better than the 87% they have got now.

    We put forward a proposal that if Greyhound Racing was banned then greyhound activity needed to be changed to the provision of services and charity and the 13% guaranteed for 99 years to the greyhounds should be paid to greyhound adjusted services. The definition of charity under the animal welfare acts would include the current greyhound clubs.

    The above situation would have left the code agreements unpicked and relatively easy for greyhound racing to continue after the courts ruled in their favour or the Government Changed or had a change of heart.

  8. John Tracey You and i know Governments  can  change anything if they want to  and both Major parties don’t have the balls to take on the thoroughbreds  as Borsak said they have been Looting the Greyhound industry for last 17 years and governments of the day have been running a protection  racket for them  and he also agrees that the government can change anything.The industry needs new leadership and not the same Hacks that got us into this mess who are still trying to hang on look at the alliance some have no credibility what so ever ! John when will the penny drop, as you continue  to support these people who are proven failures of the Greyhound Industry