JOHN Keniry, the head of the Greyhounds Transition Taskforce in charge of shutting down the industry, has re-assured participants that financial assistance will be available as a part of the transition package he is developing for the Government to assist those affected by Mike Baird’s ban on greyhound racing.
The bill to ban the industry was passed through the New South Wales Upper House last Wednesday and is expected to go before the Legislative Assembly next Tuesday. If it is passed through the Lower House, the ban will outlaw the sport within the state as of July 1, 2017.
While many participants are fearing the repercussions of the ban, Dr Keniry said the Government has committed itself to a variety of measures to ease people through the shutdown, including financial assistance.
“I have had many conversations with people working directly or indirectly in the greyhound industry since I was appointed by the Government last month to guide the industry to a humane and orderly closure,” Dr Keniry said.
“These discussions are an important part of my role to develop a detailed plan and provide advice to the Government on an assistance package that achieves the best way to transition those affected and their greyhounds.
“One of the many things I’m hearing is that financial assistance must form part of the transition package I am developing.
“I can reassure those working in the greyhound industry that the Government has committed to providing financial assistance to transition dogs and people out of the greyhound industry.
“The transition package will also include training programs, business advice, linkages with other Government and non-Government support services.
“Later this month I will be visiting several regional centres across NSW to hear first-hand the issues people are facing due to the closure on 1 July, 2017 to ensure as many views as possible form part of my report to Government.”
Keniry also indicated that the legislation before the parliament, the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016, also details a transition period which is yet to be determined to facilitate an orderly closure of the $335 million per year industry.
“The legislation stipulates that on 1 July 2017 greyhound racing in NSW will cease. However, there will be transition periods for other aspects of the greyhound racing industry.
“I will be providing advice to the Government based on my discussions with the industry on the most effective way to phase out other activities such as training, breeding and keeping greyhounds.
“The Government will then decide what assistance will be available to people affected by the closure. This is expected to be announced in late October and a new round of community consultation will begin to inform people what is available to them.
“As the closure of greyhound racing does not come into effect until 1 July 2017, I urge owners, breeders and trainers and all those affected by the closure to take their time before making any decisions about their future circumstances and the welfare of their dogs.”