THE New South Wales greyhound racing industry has been left outraged by the State Government’s decision to pair with the Greens Party and pass a legislation through the Upper House which will see the sport banned within NSW as of July 1, 2017.
The Legislative Council met on Wednesday morning and continued through until close to midnight, with the Labor Party, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and the Christian Democrat Party forming an unlikely alliance to fight the ban.
However, when all was said and done, the supporters of the sport didn’t have the numbers on their side, with the Liberals, Nationals and Greens pairing to destroy an industry which contributes over $335 million to the state each year.
“We are angry and disappointed that this ban has been rushed through the State’s Upper House,” said Brenton Scott, Chief Executive, NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers’ Association (GBOTA).
“Opposition MPs were not even given time to read the bill before it was introduced to Parliament and the fact that this bill was presented first in the Upper House is very unusual.”
Scott was scathing of Premier Mike Baird’s tactic to pass the legislation through the Upper House first, which has been touted as a method of silencing debate within the Lower House.
“This is an important issue – it should have been dealt with in the appropriate, regular manner which involves proper Parliamentary debate. We continue to ask for a fair go for our industry. I don’t believe we have received a fair hearing.
“This decision, and the manner in which the Premier has forced it through the Parliament, will have far reaching implications for local communities and the agricultural sector.
“He has transferred power to animal rights organisations by his actions and people in NSW will only fully appreciate the wide spread impact of this decision in the years to come.”
Scott said the industry is refusing to lose hope, with the legislation still needing to be passed through the Lower House when Parliament resumes on Tuesday August 23.
“It is now up to the NSW National Party members and independent MPs to stand up for the rights of their constituents and to protect the wider community from the significant damage a decision to pass this through the Lower House will bring.
“Our case is also now before the Courts and our argument shows that the McHugh Report is not credible and it is this report that formed the basis of the Premier’s decision.”
Scott condemned the NSW Government’s move to fund a campaign to slander the industry using the public’s money and questioned the ethics and morals behind using a flawed report to spread anti-racing propaganda.
“We believe that the Premier’s decision to use tax payers money on an advertising campaign that promoted the data contained in this flawed report, when it has been widely shown to be wrong was a disgraceful action designed as much to convince members of Parliament as it was to confuse and mislead the community at large.
“We are firmly of the view that the many thousands of people affected by any decision to close the industry have been denied their judicial fairness by the manner in which this whole affair has been handled by the Baird government.
“We will continue to fight this decision through legal channels. It is our view that that bill should not be passed until the Supreme Court challenge and the validity of the Report on which the decision is based is determined.”