THE New South Wales greyhound racing ban has been officially quashed after legislation to repeal the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 passed through the Lower House on Thursday.
The Greyhound Racing Bill 2017 had already been passed through the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, but after an amendment was made to the new legislation on Wednesday night as it passed through the Upper House, the bill went back through the Lower House on Thursday where the amendment was agreed to.
The new legislation will include sweeping reforms to animal welfare and integrity, with the commercial and regulatory functions of the industry’s controlling body to be split.
There will also be the establishment of a new Greyhound Racing Integrity Commission and whole life cycle tracking of every greyhound born into the industry.
The government will be giving the industry $41 million of funding over the next five years to pay for the reforms, with $11 million set to go to the Integrity Commission and $30 million to improve welfare through measures such as improving race tracks.
Shooters, Fishers & Farmers Party MLC Robert Brown was one of those who supported the repeal legislation, but made the point on Wednesday night that the $41 million funding would not be enough to ensure the industry’s survival.
“I put on record that the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party believes that those funds are vastly inadequate,” Brown said.
“In order to properly staff the commission we are talking about 60-plus people approximately, and then there are costs for rent and all the other things that are going to be required to ensure that a compliance regime can operate.
“It will require field staff, investigators and those sorts of things. There is $30 million for what we call other things—capital works to upgrade the tracks and to install surveillance and so on. So when we start adding up the cost of all of that in our heads, $41 million is a tiny amount of money.”
Lynda Voltz also spoke out in favour of the greyhound racing industry, with the Labor Party MLC having a personal connection to the industry.
“It was inappropriate for the Government to decide that it would ban the greyhound industry without any consideration for the many people who have been involved in that industry—people such as my dad, who, nearing 80, still got up every morning to walk his greyhound because that is what keeps him going, he likes to do it and he has done it all his life,” Voltz said.
“He has never mistreated the greyhounds. In fact, they are a bit spoilt, and that is reflected in the way they run. People in the greyhound racing industry are good, honest people who have worked hard all their life.
“They are hardly the rich end of town and hardly big business. They are more likely to be your battlers than the people who you do not want involved in that industry.”
Meanwhile, Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham was scathing of the industry and the government for giving the sport a second chance.
“The greyhound industry must face the inexorable fact that it has no future in New South Wales,” he said.
“The industry’s social licence has been withdrawn. The failure of the Government to stick to its guns with the recommendations of the McHugh report is only false hope for that industry.
“As night follows day, community expectation and the inability of the industry to deal with the inherent cruelty and fatalities in that industry mean that Parliament will revisit this matter.
“The Greens make a commitment to join progressive parties in moving to end the cruelty in the industry. The only way to do that is to make sure that the industry stops.”
In the end, the Upper House passed the legislation 30 votes to five.
READ MORE: Is it enough for the industry to settle for being alive or should we be pushing for our fair share?