THE New South Wales Labor Party has released a plan which will put before parliament with the aim of reforming the greyhound industry.
It comes as the government is expected to introduce its legislation to outlaw the $335 million industry as of July 1, 2017, when Parliament resumes next Tuesday.
Since the announcement on July 7 by Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Troy Grant, several Nationals MPs have voiced their concerns and threatened to oppose the ban.
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley expressed it is possible for the industry to reform, but said it is essential that National Party members stand up for the interests of those in country areas and join with Labor to overturn the legislation.
“The time has come for National Party members to stand up for regional communities,” Foley said.
“Abstaining from the vote won’t change a thing. The Nationals will need to vote with Labor to save greyhound racing. The greyhound industry will be shut down unless Mr Baird’s legislation is voted down.
“There are 16 National Party members in the lower house, seven of them in the Upper House – let’s see which of them are all hat and no cattle.
“There is a path forward to clean-up the industry and establish a regulatory body with a mandate for the highest standards of animal welfare.”
On Sunday, Foley and Shadow Gaming and Racing Minister Michael Daley unveiled their plan, based on the Special Commission of Inquiry Report handed down by Justice Michael McHugh, which parliament could follow to reform the sport rather than completely shutting it down.
The proposed legislation put forward by the NSW Labor party would include the establishment of a new regulator responsible for enforcing the highest standards of animal welfare, the separation of the commercial and regulatory functions of the sport and the implementation of severe punishments for those found guilty of animal mistreatment including life bans from greyhound racing and possible gaol terms.
As a part of the proposed plan, Labor would also prohibit the selling off of any public land which is currently being used for greyhound racing.
1700 full time jobs are expected to be culled if the ban comes into force, 1000 of which are in regional areas, while the sport also provides enjoyment to tens of thousands.
“Troy Grant as Nationals Leader has completely sold out rural and regional communities across the state. He is now just a puppet of the Greens and north shore conservatives,” Daley said.
“If the National Party won’t stand up for the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of people in country towns, then what do they stand for?
“Labor has said all along, it’s not fair to punish the majority of passionate, animal-loving participants in the greyhound industry because of the wrongdoings of a rotten few.”