Update: NEW South Wales Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) CEO Brenton Scott says the industry has not been locked into a strict 2,000 dogs per annum breeding cap.
This comes despite the fact that the figure was submitted to NSW Premier Mike Baird on August 9 as a part of four guarantees made to the government by the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance as it fought to have the controversial greyhound racing ban overturned.
The guarantees have since been stated (read below) as part of the terms of reference for the newly established Greyhound Racing Industry Reform Panel.
The new panel, formed after Baird announced his reversal of the ban, is made of five members, led by former Premier Morris Iemma, Brenton Scott representing the industry, as well as representatives from the Department of Primary Industry, Department of the Premier and the RSPCA.
An expert advisory committee is also expected to be formed in the near future to assist the panel in making recommendations to the government on how to ensure the future of greyhound racing within NSW.
Scott said while the cap of 2,000 dogs bred per year had been removed from the guarantees prior to the panel’s introductory meeting on Friday, the industry still remains devoted to the commitments put forward to the Premier.
“The commitments are a controlled breeding program, a total lifecycle management for all greyhounds that are bred, zero tolerance for animal cruelty and the provision of optimum levels of animal safety,” Scott told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“The Alliance have raised [the 2,000 breeding cap] specifically with the Premier and Deputy Premier.
“Since [August 9] the Alliance has taken its position to Greyhounds Australasia and has explained that the concept of a controlled breeding program needs to have a national focus.
“We need to understand what’s needed to cater for the entire national racing program at a given time and all of our planning needs to be between two and five years ahead.
“We obviously can’t breed more than we need to cater for that racing program, once we ensure the national level and the flow between states, then it will become an easier process to determine the breeding levels that should apply in each state.
“It’s not about approaching this issue from a breeding cap point of view, but approaching it from an appreciation that we shouldn’t be breeding excess to our racing needs and we shouldn’t be breeding excess to our capacity to re-home in a manner that is line with community expectations.”
Whilst the official letter to the Premier, sent on August 9, has not been made public, Scott said there have been no further commitments made to the government aside from what was outlined in the Alliance press release on that same date.
“There is no variation there at all,” Scott said, referring any differences between the letter to the Premier and the press release dated the same day.
Scott also said the breeding cap of 2,000 has since been removed as a part of the industry’s guarantees to the government. However, the terms of reference for the new reform panel, drafted on Wednesday, specifically cite the guarantees made on the August 9.
“[The cap of 2,000] was a condition on August 9 and it was something which was rejected by the government when they went to the Upper House two days later.
“The next time we spoke to the government about the industry’s capability to provide guarantees, the breeding cap number was taken off the table, but what stays on the table is a sophisticated approach to a controlled breeding program.
“That is what the industry needs and it is what the government and community want.”
Scott said whilst the Alliance made guarantees to the government on how greyhound racing could be reformed, he is also hopeful the industry will be able to benefit from some major changes as a result of the Panel’s work.
“The industry will be seeking to have a robust animal welfare framework with world leading practices, secondly we want to ensure we come out of this process with best practice regulation and supervisory models in place.
“Our third ambition is to emerge from this with a funding model which has regard for our commercial, regulatory and animal welfare obligations.
“This means our wagering returns across Tabcorp earnings, race field earnings and taxation parity earnings need to be based on a performance model where our returns are connected to our market share.
“That will be strongly put as one of our three principle requirements out of this process.
“We have had a lot of attempts to have it dealt with. The Cameron Report is probably the only truly independent assessment of wagering arrangements in NSW and that report in 2008 recommended a movement to a competitive based distribution model.
“Then we had the Select Committee Inquiry that made similar observations and now we have the McHugh Report making a recommendation that market share principles ought to apply.
“People need to sit down and consider change. Now is the time for it to be carefully and rationally considered.”
With both the Alliance’s letter to the Premier and its media release on August 9 specifically mentioned within the terms of reference of the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel, Australian Racing Greyhound attempted to reach out to the Premier’s office for clarification.
Unfortunately, our requests for information went unanswered.
Terms of reference for the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel
THE New South Wales Government has unveiled the terms of reference for the newly established Greyhound Industry Reform Panel.
The Panel, to be led by ex-Premier Morris Iemma, was announced by Premier Mike Baird following his decision to reverse the controversial greyhound racing ban.
The panel will consider the recommendations outlined in the report of the Special Commission of Inquiry as tabled by Justice Michael McHugh. The panel will also take into account the industry reform guarantees put forward to the NSW Government by the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance in both its letter to the Premier and media release on August 9.
Interestingly, the terms of reference – found at the NSW Government website here, have been drafted by Philippa King – director of social policy and a close advisor to Mike Baird – and not the state’s racing minister, Troy Grant.
A point to take note of in the terms of reference below is the following:
- Ensure that the guarantees provided by the Alliance to the government are incorporated into the governance, regulatory and animal welfare proposals put forward by the panel.
This point in the document directly refers to ‘guarantees’ made by the Alliance and suggests that whatever has been agreed to is going to be part of any future greyhound racing model.
Also set for consideration are the current reforms having been undertaken by Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) and the report from head of the Greyhounds Transition Taskforce, Dr John Keniry, as well as further input from an Expert Advisory Committee, as sought by the panel.
The panel is set to prepare a number of recommendations to the government targeting a series of issues relating to governance, integrity and animal welfare standards.
The particular goals of the panel are as follows:
– To develop an appropriate governance structure for the industry which will be the benchmark in its field. The structure should ensure best practice across the state in regards to both transparency and integrity within the industry.
– Put together a detailed plan for animal welfare, which will ensure best practice across the industry, with a particular focus on eradicating wastage and live baiting within the sport. This could be achieved by recommending appropriate changes to the regulatory frameworks, penalties for rule breaches and compliance mechanisms.
– Make recommendations on a new and independent regulator for the industry which has powerful compliance mechanisms which can ensure governance of the sport and proper execution of the animal welfare plan.
– Make recommendations on how to improve the safety of both racing and training environments for greyhounds, including track design, with the goal being to eliminate the occurrence of injury.
– Ensure that the guarantees provided by the Alliance to the government are incorporated into the governance, regulatory and animal welfare proposals put forward by the panel.
– Suggest any extra measures which should be undertaken by the industry to meet community expectations in regards to integrity and the welfare of the animals within the industry.
– Propose any other relevant recommendations considered necessary to ensure community confidence in the industry is restored.
– Propose a timeframe and criteria for a Statutory Review of the new legislation.
AustralianRacingGreyhound will provide more on this story as details come to hand.