GREYHOUND Racing NSW (GRNSW) announced on Wednesday morning interim CEO of the authority body Paul Newson will be replaced by an administrator to manage the shut down of the industry within the state.
Newson stepped in as the interim CEO in February 2015 following on from the ABC’s Four Corners program titled Making A Killing which exposed several trainers engaging in the practice of live baiting.
Newson has slammed the industry which he said showed little motive to change throughout the reform process.
“It’s frustrating to see the support that has emerged to defend the industry since the government’s announcement, when we often had to deal with the outright denial of the significant animal welfare issues in the industry,” Newson said in a press release.
“On many occasions proposed reforms were dismissed and resisted by industry participants and while some participants courageously championed reform, overall there was little appetite to demonstrate the significant change was in place before the inquiry had made its recommendation to government.
“However, I recognise the government’s decision is devastating for all participants in the sport and they are understandably distressed and concerned about what will happen next.
“In the past 17 months, I have met many greyhound owners who truly love and care for their dogs as if they were members of their family and for those participants I’m genuinely disappointed.”
Newson said the authority body is not in a position to fight the ban, instead stating that role should be filled by the Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) or Greyhounds Australasia.
“I know from the feedback I have received from participants and GRNSW staff since the decision last week that you want GRNSW to fight the government’s decision, but in light of a clear government policy declaration that it intends to end the industry and our role as a regulator this places me in a very difficult position and the appointment of a GRNSW administrator will make it impossible,” he said.
“In this regard, participants are adequately represented by the NSW Greyhound Breeders Owners & Trainers Association and the national peak body Greyhounds Australasia. Both organisations are more appropriate and better placed to contest the NSW Government position.”
Newson was unable to answer any further questions relating to the shutdown in his statement.
“In accordance with the NSW Government announcement, the details of how the industry will be shutdown are being developed by a government taskforce following consultation with stakeholders in industry and animal welfare organisations and will be announced later in the year,” he said.
“There are still a great deal of unanswered questions such as can NSW participants still have a role in greyhound racing in other states, can breeders and trainers still operate out of NSW and if greyhounds can be transferred to other states, to name just a few.”
The statement said GRNSW will play a key role in representing participant’s interest during the transition process over the next 12 months including managing a welfare plan for existing greyhounds and the proposed adjustment package to support industry participants.
Newson highlighted the progress made by GRNSW over the past 17 months and expressed disappointment that reforms were not seen as enough to save the industry.
“GRNSW has worked tirelessly to achieve a sustainable and vibrant future for greyhound racing in NSW. The fierce advocacy commenced on 19 February 2015 and my resolve to successfully reposition the industry informed our ambitious reform agenda over the past 17 months and is acknowledged in the Special Commission report,” he said.
“We were wrestling with the most serious issues confronting the sport, we embraced our harshest critics, we invested in evidence based policy and we made difficult and often unpopular decisions as we strived to secure a vibrant future for the greyhound racing.
“The Special Commission deemed that these reforms, while admirable, were too late to transform the greyhound racing industry into a state acceptable to society.
“While we knew much more needed to be done in the areas of animal welfare and industry supervision, if we could have effectively addressed these issues we hoped there could have been a future for greyhound racing that offered a continued social and economic benefit to NSW.
“Greyhound racing delivers over $300 million to the NSW economy each year, many thousands of people are involved through participation as an owner or trainer as well as many more who are keen fans of the sport,” Mr Newson said.
“GRNSW was confident it could secure a responsible and vibrant future for greyhound racing, however, the overall recommendation handed to the NSW Government clearly found we did not do enough to meet community expectations which is devastating for those participants who genuinely attempted to reform the industry in a very short time.
“I continued to assert that the pace of reform would need to continue over the coming years but I was confident the industry was on the right path to becoming a more sustainable and vibrant industry that is adequately supervised and regulated and of course puts the welfare of the greyhound at the centre of everything it does.
“However, despite all of this, I had difficulty convincing some industry participants about the need for change.”