Special Commission of Inquiry – the 80 recommendations simplified

OVER a week has passed since the Special Commission of Inquiry report into greyhound racing was made public, with Premier Mike Baird ignoring 79 recommendations and opting to shut down the industry as a result.

The Liberal Party leader has copped a lot of flack in the aftermath of his announcement, basing on his decision on the first of 80 recommendations and ignoring many which would see the industry improve towards a more socially acceptable and animal welfare centric future.

But just what are the 79 other recommendations? Most people don’t have the time to sit down and read through an 800 page report, so below we have summarised all of recommendations by Justice Michael McHugh.

Many of the recommendations aim to strengthen animal welfare and address the functions of GRNSW, providing alternatives to the current structure of the authority body to enhance integrity.

Recommendation 1: After being presented with the findings of the Special Commission, the New South Wales Parliament should consider whether the industry has lost its social licence and if it should be banned within the state.

If the industry is permitted to continue, the Commission makes the following recommendations:

Recommendation 2: The Greyhound Racing Rules of NSW should be altered to ensure a life disqualification is handed down for any person found guilt of live baiting.

Recommendation 3: Section 21 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW) should be amended to strengthen the offences of live baiting.

Recommendation 4: That the exemption in GAR 86C(5) in relation to live animals being kept on a premiss where greyhounds are kept should be removed, with the rule reading as follows:

“A person shall not be in breach of Rule 86B(1)(b) where the animal is kept on or at the premises as a domesticated pet or is kept for rural or agricultural purposes with prior notification to and approval from the Controlling Body. For the purpose of this sub-rule, notification must be in the manner and form required by the Controlling Body for this exclusion to apply.”

Recommendation 5: There should be a mandatory requirement for greyhounds which engage in the sport of lure coursing to be registered on the NSW Register of Companion Animals whilst they engage in the sport.

The penalty for failing to do so should be the same as the normal penalty for failing to have any other pet registered on the NSW Register of Companion Animals.

Recommendation 6: GAR 86B(1)(c) which reads that a person “causes, procures, permits or allows a greyhound to pursue or attack any live animal, animal carcass or any part of an animal” is guilty of live baiting. The report recommended this rule should be extended to include advertising, promoting or organising live baiting.

Recommendation 7: Remove GAR 106(4) which relates to retired greyhounds who remain in the care of their registered owner.

The rule states such greyhounds should be exempt from ceasing to being registered for racing and breeding purposes and being registered in accordance with the Companion Animals Act 1998.

The rule also made retired greyhounds retained by their owners exempt from the sub-rule which does not allow a retired greyhound to be re-registered with a controlling body.

Recommendation 8: Greyhounds should be registered on the NSW Register of Companion Animals throughout their entire lifecycle.

Recommendation 9: The Privacy Policy for Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) should be amended to permit the disclosure of a greyhound’s identity to those who have a legitimate interest in it, such as the RSPCA, the local council or the NSW Police Force. This should be the same policy for any new regulators which are formed to oversee the sport.

Recommendation 10: The regulator must update the NSW Companion Animals register in regards to GAR 105 and LR 106 (3). These rules relate to the control and location of greyhounds and greyhounds which are no longer registered for the purposes of racing.

Recommendation 11: Those who are found guilty of live baiting should be required to compensate the prosecutor for the cost of conducting the prosecution and the investigation which led to the commencement of proceedings.

Recommendation 12: The Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW) should be amended to clarify its interrelationship with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW) and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulation 2012 (NSW).

Recommendation 13: The Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW) should be amended to ensure GRNSW (or any new regulator) consult with the RSPCA and any other relevant welfare organisations when developing and amending regulations, rules or minimum standards which could have an impact on animal welfare.

Recommendation 14: The Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW) should be altered to include an obligation for GRNSW and stewards to report any serious or repeated breached of animal welfare centred rules to the RSPCA or the Animal Welfare League.

Recommendation 15: The Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW) should be amended to ensure GRNSW are required to report details of any proceedings which relate to animal welfare (both progress and outcomes) on an annual basis.

Recommendation 16: Private trial tracks should be licensed and subject to regular inspections by GRNSW (or any new regulator).

It is also recommended that the Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW) be amended to make it compulsory for all private trial tracks to be registered, with a condition of the licence being that the track should only be used by greyhounds which are owned or leased by the licensee.

Recommendation 17: The Rules of Racing should be amended to ensure there is a standard that all private trial tracks must be maintained to.

Recommendation 18: GRNSW staff should not be appointed as officers or inspectors under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW), with possible breaches of the act or of any criminal law concerning animal welfare to be referred to the RSPCA, the Animal Welfare League or the NSW Police Force for investigation.

Recommendation 19: The Rules of Racing should provide a range of penalties for animal welfare offences, as is now the case for live baiting, which should include suspension and disqualification for serious and repeated breaches.

If a code of practice is introduced, the Rules of Racing must detail that a breach of the code is also a breach of the Greyhound Racing Rules.

Recommendation 20: The Rules of Racing should be amended to prohibit the use of barking muzzles at all times.

Recommendation 21: The current GAR 106 forms (notification of retirement) should be kept in a manner where essential information for the purposes of lifecycle tracking can be extracted and entered into a readily accessible database.

The regulator should also have the current GAR 106 forms independently assessed for shortcomings, while the forms should also include details so the transfer of greyhounds to third parties can be verified.

Recommendation 22: GAR 106 should be amended to make it an offence for providing a false or misleading statement on the forms which relate to the notification of transfer or retirement of a greyhound. Participants should also be required to supply further information if required by the regulator, with failure to do so resulting in a suspension until the information is provided.

Recommendation 23: GRNSW should have an audit plan which takes a significant sample of GAR 106 forms to verify their accuracy each year. The reports of this audit should be reported in GRNSW’s annual report.

Recommendation 24: The Rules of Racing should be independently reviewed, with particular regards to race day welfare obligations to ensure they are adequate.

Recommendation 25: The attendance of unlicensed persons and the production of documents (i.e to an inquiry) should be exercised by the Supreme Court of NSW upon an application by the regulator or its delegates.

Recommendation 26: The Rules of Racing should be changed to make it clear that GRNSW (or any regulator) has the power to supply any personal information to other authorities upon request.

Recommendation 27: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should not be given the statutory powers to enter, search or seize anything from a property, including the power to obtain and execute search warrants.

Recommendation 28: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should not be given the power to undertake filmed surveillance activities on any property or premises.

Recommendation 29: That the NSW considers extending the offences for which warrants can be obtained under the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW) to include live baiting offences and the offence of aggravated animal cruelty.

Recommendation 30: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should not have the power to issue remedial directions – a written direction that is enforceable in a court.

Recommendation 31: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should not be given the power to enter into any undertakings with greyhound racing clubs that are enforceable in court.

Recommendation 32: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should not have the power to issue penalty infringement notices.

Recommendation 33: A code of practice which details the minimum standards of care for greyhounds throughout their lifecycle should be established and enforced.

Recommendation 34: The code of practice should enforce that GRNSW (or any new regulator) as well as industry participants are required to complete lifecycle records for each greyhound. These records should travel with the greyhounds throughout their lifecycle.

Recommendation 35: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should enter into a Memoranda of Understanding with both the RSPCA NSW and with the Animal Welfare League which properly reflects the roles and responsibilities of each organisation. This obligation should be a part of the legislation governing the regulator, with performance to be monitored and audited annually at the cost of the regulator.

Recommendation 36: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should cover the costs for the RSPCA NSW and the Animal Welfare League in their performance of obligations under the Memoranda of Understanding.

Recommendation 37: The Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW) should be amended to require GRNSW to include its strategic plan for the advancement of the animal welfare needs of greyhounds for the three years which follow.

Recommendation 38: Performance against the future strategic plans must be the subject of an independent audit each year. The audit should occur prior to the publication of the annual reports and the results should be published in the relevant annual reports.

Recommendation 39: Section nine of the Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW), which details the functions of GRNSW, should be amended to include the promotion of the welfare of greyhounds across the industry.

The Act should be further amended to ensure there is a specific obligation on members of GRNSW to do likewise.

Recommendation 40: The Rules of Racing should be altered so that stewards and on-track veterinarians have to power to direct any person in the care or control of a greyhound at a race meeting or trial to take it to a veterinary clinic.

The Rules of Racing should also be amended so that any person who has been directed to take a greyhound to a veterinary clinic must provide evidence that they have done so within 48 hours.

The evidence must include a certificate from a qualified veterinary practitioner which details which treatment was administered, including whether the greyhound was put down.

A breach of these rules should be treated as a serious offence.

Recommendation 41: The Rules of Racing should be amended to ensure participants are obliged to notify the regulator of injuries not detected by the on-track veterinarian within 24 hours.

If the injuries are serious, the regulator’s Chief Veterinary Officer should have the power to direct the person in charge of the greyhound to seek veterinary care as outlined within recommendation 40.

Recommendation 42: The Rules of Racing should be amended to ensure greyhounds cannot be trialled publicly without a veterinarian being present.

Recommendation 43: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should amend the rules to regulate the extent to which participants can engage a ‘muscle man’ for the treatment of a greyhound.

It should subsequently be an offence for participants to use a ‘muscle man’ contrary to the rules.

Recommendation 44: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should have the responsibility of providing veterinary services at all NSW TAB and non-TAB race meetings.

Recommendation 45: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should adopt the recommendations of the Nous Group Report “Review of greyhound racing veterinary services in New South Wales” unless they differ from the recommendations of the Commission.

Recommendation 46: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should ensure formal training is provided for any new on-track veterinarians and that they are all given initial on-track experience in the company of an experience GRNSW veterinarian.

Recommendation 47: GRNSW should amend the Rules of Racing to ensure it is essential that an on-track veterinarian is required for both pre-race and post-race trials at any track in NSW.

Recommendation 48: A fee should be imposed on the breeder of any greyhound which is transferable and recoverable by the last person who is responsible for the greyhound prior to it being rehomed or retired as a pet.

In the latter case the fee should not be recoverable for two years after the greyhound is rehomed.

Recommendation 49: The Rules of Racing should be amended to allow for the aforementioned fee which should apply to all greyhounds regardless of whether they are named, registered or race.

Recommendation 50: The fee should be set by GRNSW (or any new regulator), while a fund should be established into which these fees must be deposited. The regulator should be required to redirect any unclaimed fees into the Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) program or any other welfare measures.

Recommendation 51: GRNSW (or any new regulator), in conjunction with Greyhounds Australasia, should engage with the Federal Government with the aim of increasing the action of the Federal Government in connection with the export of live greyhounds.

Recommendation 52: The NSW Government should make representations to the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of Greyhounds Australasia in regard to the export of live greyhounds.

Recommendation 53: All clubs should follow GRNSW’s swabbing procedures and must withhold prize money of and more than $6,000 until the result of the swab is known.

Recommendation 54: A random swabbing regime should be introduced to compliment the existing swabbing policy set in place y GRNSW.

Recommendation 55: Stewards should refer to the relevant penalty tables and reference how they apply to a certain case when publishing the outcomes of prohibited substance hearings.

Recommendation 56: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should undertake frequent and random kennel inspections.

Recommendation 57: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should publicly report accurate data in relation to the number of inspections undertaken in its annual report as well as a high-level summary of the outcomes of its inspections.

Recommendation 58: The Rules of Racing should be re-drafted to address the inaccuracies and deficiencies in content in regards to the licensing of industry participants.

Recommendation 59: GRNSW (or any other regulator) officials should be at all greyhound racing meetings in NSW (both TAB and non-TAB).

Recommendation 60: There should be at least two stewards on track at each race meeting.

Recommendation 61: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should ensure there are adequate resources available to ensure stewards can carry out their functions appropriately.

Recommendation 62: All property inspections of industry participants (with the exception of stewards’ inquiries) should be undertaken by compliance staff and investigators of GRNSW (or any new regulator) and should not ordinarily be conducted by stewards.

Recommendation 63: GRNSW (or any new regulator) should adopt the recommendations of the “Sector Seven Stewards Report” except where they differ from the recommendations of the Commission.

The Sector Seven Stewards Report was an independent review, finalised at the beginning of 2016, which addressed shortcomings in the existing stewards’ reporting framework including its approach to euthanasia at NSW greyhound meetings.

The report led to a range of recommendations being adopted to enhance the accountability and transparency of GRNSW by ensuring timely, accurate and complete monitoring of race meetings including any on-track injuries and related euthanasia.

The Special Commission noted that this recommendation should not lead to a failure to ensure compliance officers continue to undertake frequent and random kennel inspections.

Recommendation 64: If the racing codes cannot agree on a more equitable distribution of TAB revenue, the Parliament of NSW should legislate to amend the current arrangements by distributing funds that reflect each code’s contribution to TAB revenue.

Recommendation 65: The regulatory and commercial functions of GRNSW should be separated, with a seperate regulator, the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commission, to be established.

The Commission should not be independent of Government, but should be independent of GRNSW – it should be a statutory corporation representing the crown.

The Governor should appoint the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commissioner on the recommendation of the NSW Minister for Racing. The Commissioner should oversee the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commission and its operations.

Recommendation 66: The NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commission should be required to report to the NSW Minister for Racing on an annual basis.

With the exception of audited financial statements the report must contain details of its operations including disciplinary action, drug testing results and investigation details and the outcome of any breaches of the animal welfare standards, including prosecutions by the RSPCA NSW, the Animal Welfare League and/or the NSW Police Force.

The report should specify any steps taken by the Greyhound Racing Integrity Commissioner to maintain or enhance animal welfare standards.

Recommendation 67: The NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commissioner’s annual report should contain audited figures of registrations and licences, litters whelped, lifecycle outcomes from whelping to the time of a GAR 106 form being lodged.

The report should also include details of significant injuries (ones which have required a stand down period of 21 days or more as well euthanasia) and rehoming figures whether through the GAP program or otherwise.

If a breeding quota or another breeding management scheme is introduced then the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commissioner must administer it and report on its outcomes annually.

This annual report should be available online and free of charge to members of the public.

Recommendation 68: Persons who have been involved as participants within the greyhound racing industry must be ineligible for the appointment either as the NSW Greyhound Racing Commissioner or to the Board of the NSW Greyhound Racing Commission.

Recommendation 69: An animal welfare committee should be established and should comprise of three members.

One member should be an existing member of the NSW Animal Welfare Advisory Council with relevant experience in animal ethics.

The second member should be a senior officer from the RSPCA NSW or the Animal Welfare League as nominated by the Board of those organisation. In the event that neither organisation wishes to participate, the second member of the committee should be a person with extensive animal welfare experience at a senior level.

The third member should be an independent veterinary practitioner.

Recommendation 70: The board and CEO of the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commission should be required to seek advice from the animal welfare committee for matters concerning a greyhound’s welfare.

This includes the formulation of any welfare policies and standards, with the board and the Animal Welfare Committee required to meet quarterly.

Recommendation 71: The amendments to the Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW) which allow for the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commissioner should specify the following objectives for the NSW greyhound Racing Integrity Commission’s operations.

– The control, regulation and integrity of all greyhound racing in NSW
– The maintenance, protection and enhancement of animal welfare standards in greyhound racing
– The maintenance of accurate, transparent and publicly accessible records including the lifecycle records for each greyhound bred to race.

Recommendation 72: The functions of the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commission should include:

– Registration of all greyhound racing clubs and trial tracks

– The licensing and registration of all industry participants including bookmakers, breeders, rearers, pre-trainers, educators, owners and trainers. A part of this role also includes determining whether persons are fit and proper persons to be licensed or registered.

– The registration of all greyhounds

– The appointment and management of greyhound racing stewards

– The development and implementation of policies aimed at enhancing the integrity of greyhound racing

– The development and delivery of compulsory animal welfare and compliance education and training

Recommendation 73: The powers of the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commissioner should include:

– The authority to make rules in regards to the control and regulation of greyhound racing in NSW. This should also include the power to make or adopt codes of practice which relate to greyhound welfare and embed those codes within the Rules of Racing

– The power to investigate the conduct of any racing official in regards to the exercise of their functions relating to greyhound racing

– The power to cancel and suspend registration. In the case of clubs, the power to also appoint an administrator when and if required

– The power to conduct inquiries which do not relate to any specific complaint and may include an investigation into systemic issues in greyhound racing

– The power to hold hearings, summon persons and receive evidence under oath or on affirmation

– The power to investigate complaints made by members of the public or industry participants concerning animal welfare and compliance

– The power to impose fines, disqualifications etc

– The power to develop compliance enforcement strategies

– The power to collaborate with the RSPCA NSW, the Animal Welfare League and the NSW Police Force in relation to breaches or suspected breaches of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW). With this the Commissioner also ha the power to disclose all relevant information to those bodies

Recommendation 74: Once the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commission is established, it and GRNSW must enter into a Memorandum of Understanding to work out a relationship between the two bodies including the sharing of resources.

Recommendation 75: A provision similar to section five of the Greyhound Racing Act 2002 (NSW), which relates to a Greyhound Racing Industry Participants Advisory Committee, should be introduced into the Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW).

Recommendation 76: Members of the Greyhound Racing Industry Consultation Group and industry participants should not be appointed as members of GRNSW.

Recommendation 77: Past and present Board members of GRNSW and its staff should be excluded from appointment to the Selection panel.

Recommendation 78: The Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW) should be amended to give the Minister the power to remove the Board of GRNSW or any of its members.

Recommendation 79: GRNSW should undertake a review into its consultation policies, particularly with regards to the development of strategic plans, to ensure the proper consultation takes place with industry stakeholders including the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Commissioner

Recommendation 80: The Greyhound Racing Integrity Auditor role should be replaced due to the necessary change in several recommendations listed above, namely the separation of the commercial and integrity functions of GRNSW, the creation of a new statutory body, the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commission and the appointment of a NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commissioner.

Past Discussion

  1. Recommendation 64 would have solved a lot of these problems, with more money being available for Welfare as a starter, plus the opportunity to fund all country racing, the ones they canned recently. Actually its an opportunity for the Govt to pass Recommendation 64 and use the money for the so called shutdown or the re establishment of the Industry

  2. Hi Katherine extremely helpful report of yours thanks for the effort.

    It looks as though we won the battle and lost the war (see recommendation 64 and the evidence of the horse board CEO evidence and report in last Saturday’s Telegraph.

    Recommendation 64: If the racing codes cannot agree on a more equitable distribution of TAB revenue, the Parliament of NSW should legislate to amend the current arrangements by distributing funds that reflect each code’s contribution to TAB revenue.

  3. Recommendation 64 is the rub for the Government.  All others Recommendations either have been implemented or can be implemented if we are given our fair share of TAB & Tax takings..  Troy Grant hasn’t got the guts to stand up to Messara & V’lundies and take back our donation. 

    Just think of what we could do if we were given our fair share!. 

  4. John Tracey Saw that….Tim Morrisey’s article is what you’re referring to I think.  And V’Lundies is blaming the Greyhound Code for breaking the agreement the required meeting Protocol.  What a hide.  He was the one that screwed us of our fair percentage when the Agreement was drawn up.

  5. John Tracey Spot on John, this recommendation 64 may well be the bottom line and true reason for the ban. The Tim Morrissey article on page 82 of the Tele Sat. 16 july should be publicised on mass. Keep up the battle, your mate Steve Crawford.   

  6. BJoe exactly ,what have we been begging for in the last few years our fair share ,these recommendations are not to hard to take on board and already a lot have been implemented

  7. CRAZYCRAW John Tracey Hi Steve,” its follow the money honey!”. The other recommendations are a sad reflection of Ministerial , Departmental and Government chosen control boards inactions as well as others.

  8. Todman  Yes I think you might be right Todman that would have certainly worried the horsey set.- personally it was one of my favourites and with enough money much better welfare outcomes.